Covid bursts IPL bubble

New Delhi, May 3

Covid-19 has breached the IPL bio-secure bubble, with two Kolkata Knight Riders players — Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier — testing positive for the dreaded virus. Adding more worries to the organisers of the league, three members of the Chennai Super Kings contingent — chief executive Kasi Viswanathan, bowling coach L Balaji, and a bus cleaner — also tested positive.

Tonight’s match between KKR and Royal Challenges Bangalore, scheduled in Ahmedabad, was postponed after spinner Chakravarthy and pace bowler Warrier tested positive. The new date of the match will be announced later.

These are the first Covid-19 cases within the IPL bubble since the tournament started. Earlier, a few players had tested positive before the tournament started and they were allowed into the tournament after they had recovered and served a quarantine period. Warrier has not yet got a game in the IPL so far, while Chakravarthy has been an integral part of the team and has picked up seven wickets in seven games.

‘All others negative’

“Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for Covid-19,” said a statement from the IPL.

Chakravarthy and Warrier have been isolated and the rest of the KKR contingent.

“The Medical Team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest,” the IPL statement said. Close and casual contacts of Warrier and Chakravarthy are also being determined.

KKR’s last match was against Delhi Capitals in Ahmedabad on April 29, and the Delhi players too would be on radar now. “Now, the Delhi Capitals players (who are currently in Ahmedabad) will also have to be tested and every member of the team contingents that came in contact with Chakravarthy and Warrier will also be contact-traced through the app watch that has been given to everyone,” a BCCI official said.

As per the IPL protocol, any close contact of an infected person has to isolate for six days and return three negative tests on days 1, 3 and 6.

Out of bubble

It is believed that Chakravarthy had left the bio-bubble to visit a hospital for a scan on his injured shoulder, and that he might have been exposed to the virus then. He had left the bio-bubble under the IPL’s green channel — under this process, a player is taken in a vehicle (which is in the bubble with a driver), clad in PPE, to the hospital. The treatment is done by medical personnel in PPEs and masks, after which the player returns in the same vehicle.

Also, it was reported that some groundsmen at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley Stadium, which is due to host Mumbai Indians vs Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, also tested positive for the virus. However, Delhi and Districts Cricket Association chief Rohan Jaitley is reported to have said “none of the groundsmen on duty” are among them. — TNS, Agencies

Earlier in IPL…

Players and coach who tested positive, recovered and rejoined their teams

  • Devdutt Padikkal of Royal Challengers Bangalore tested positive for Covid-19 on March 22, when the tournament was more than two weeks away
  • Delhi Capitals’ Axar Patel tested positive in early April, days after he had checked into the team hotel in Mumbai on March 28 after providing a negative Covid-19 report
  • KKR’s Nitish Rana too tested positive after joining the team in Mumbai in early April
  • Kiran More, part of the Mumbai Indians’ coaching set-up, tested positive in early April, just days before the IPL was to start on April 9

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