With less than a week to for the start, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has plunged into a crisis with a player and another team member contracting the coronavirus.
Delhi Capitals allrounder Axar Patel has tested positive after joining the team in Mumbai with a negative report on March 28, and subsequently testing positive in the second test taken. He has been taken to a medical care facility.
“Axar Patel had checked into the team hotel in Mumbai on March 28, 2021, with a negative report. His report from the second COVID test, came positive. He is currently in isolation at a designated medical care facility. The Delhi Capitals medical team is in constant touch with Axar and ensuring his safety and well-being. We wish him a speedy recovery,” the Delhi franchise said in a statement
A member of Chennai Super Kings’ content team too has tested positive and has subsequently been put under isolation. CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan confirmed the development to Cricbuzz, and said that the individual was not in contact with the players or the support staff and was on a different floor even before returning a positive result on his Covid-19 test.
Even as the franchises were grappling with the potential threat from the virus, reports emerged that multiple groundsmen of the Wankhede Stadium also failed the test. A Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) source has denied the reports, saying the groundstaff have subsequently come negative but the situation in Mumbai, which will be hosting 10 games in the first fortnight of the season, is fast becoming serious with the state Chief Minister not ruling out the possibility of reimposing a lockdown.
There are about 2.9 million cases in Maharastra with Mumbai, the virtual hotspot in the country, registering over 8000 new cases a day of late. In such a backdrop there has been widespread concern among the franchises if the BCCI has kept a Plan B.
The BCCI is yet to reach out to the franchises over the threat from corona crisis but its officials are believed to be thinking about alternatives. “We have not heard anything from the BCCI about any change in plans. We are regularly speaking to the Board officials. With less than a week left, it is now a situation from there can be no going back. It is difficult to shift to a new city, manage so many sanitized hotel rooms and restart all over,” said an official of a franchise reacting to reports that Hyderabad has been kept as a standbye.
Four franchises – Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals – have their bases in Mumbai for the first leg of the leagu