Covid scare hits Indian Premier League | Cricket News


2021-04-04 02:29:51

DC’s Axar, RCB‘s Padikkal, Wankhede ground staff members test positive; worried BCCI keeps options open days before start
MUMBAI: With a week left for the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 14th edition to get under way, the Indian cricket board (BCCI) is sweating over the alarming rise in the number of Covid cases across the country, especially in Mumbai.
On Saturday, reports came in of Delhi Capitals left-arm spinner Axar Patel, Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Devdutt Padikkal, members of the ground staff at the Wankhede Stadium, a franchise executive, members of an event management company engaged by the BCCI and other individuals testing positive.
Padikkal is undergoing quarantine after testing positive. RCB are scheduled to play this edition’s inaugural game against defending champions Mumbai Indians on April 9. Sources say Padikkal is in a race against time to be fit.
The cricket board has admitted that more “stringent and urgent steps” are needed to keep the ecosystem safe over the next two months.
However, sources added that there’s no need to start pressing the panic button yet and “while it would be safe to keep other options ready in case matches need to be shifted,” Mumbai will continue with the existing plans for the time being.
Five out of the eight IPL franchises – Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals and Kolkata Knight Riders – are currently based in Mumbai right now. The Knight Riders will soon leave Mumbai for Chennai where they are scheduled to play their first leg of matches before returning to Mumbai around April 20.
However, the remaining four franchises are scheduled to stay put in Mumbai for the next three weeks and play five matches east.
As the second wave of Covid-19 and its related strains wreak havoc, Mumbai has become the centre of all attention due to the alarming rise in numbers and with cricketers, franchise officials and ground staff testing positive, the board is in a huddle right now, wondering if a ‘Plan B’ needs to be put in place immediately.
“Let’s wait and watch the next 48 hours. Until then, everybody needs to strictly respect the protocols, increase the testing and not break the bio-bubbles. If they follow the norms, things will definitely be fine,” said those tracking developments.
Here are some of the steps being contemplated…
Shifting matches outside of Mumbai: It’s not been a subject of serious discussion yet and is unlikely to be, unless the situation goes out of control. To move to another city with just a week left for the tournament to start will mean rejigging the initial schedule. However, should such a situation arise, Hyderabad is the main back-up option. Hyderabad and Indore are likely to be kept on standby.
Mandatory daily tests: RTPCR tests may also be made mandatory every day. The BCCI may make this compulsory for all franchises and staff involved with the tournament. As against “regular testing” every three days, the BCCI is likely to convey that testing of each individual associated with the tournament will take place every single day.
Separate bio-bubble for ground staff: While the BCCI’s executive team is already inside a bio-bubble, the same will now have to be done for the ground staff too. This will help with day-to-day preparations at the Wankhede.
Tarmac-to-tarmac flights: Once teams begin flying from one venue to another – which only begin from the third week of the month – the BCCI will have to find ways to ensure teams don’t get caught in the airport rush. To ensure the same, the BCCI will have to work alongside state governments and airport authorities.
All stakeholders to communicate diligently: “Should a franchise bio-bubble or any staff working with the IPL test positive or show symptoms or come in contact with those who have been affected, information needs to be immediately relayed to the medical staff. That’s extremely important. Everybody is doing it but we all need to be extra careful given the situation,” board sources said. “The board is putting Covid-compliance officers in place. They should’ve started two weeks ago. The tournament cannot be shifted to the UAE now.”



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  1. Lecfsnopy April 4, 2021
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  10. JndqGroom April 4, 2021
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