In a COVID-19 scare for the IPL 2021 tournament, the Match 30 Kolkata Knight Riders VS Royal Challengers Bangalore is rescheduled after 2 KKR players: Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive. As India is fighting tooth and nail with the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, IPL fans learnt that even the supposedly highly safeguarded IPL tournament is compromised.
Indian news publications are saying that it the bowling-duo of Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier that have tested positive for COVID-19. Before the IPL administration came out with any official confirmation, the Hindu quoted Gujarat Cricket Association secretary Anil Patel saying, “I have received a message from the BCCI CEO and the venue in charge that today’s match is suspended and a new date will be announced later in the day.”
The Hindu also quoted a senior BCCI official saying, “A couple of players are understood to have tested positive and some reports are awaited. It is important not to speculate and wait for all the reports to arrive.”
Later, the IPL issued a statement saying, “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.”
— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) May 3, 2021
It should be noted that Kolkata Knight Riders was last seen locking horns with Delhi Capitals, and thus it can be assumed that the DC camp would also now undergo testing. Along with DC all the players and support staff that came in contact with the positive players would also be traced through contact tracing and will be tested.
Although as there is no official confirmation as to who the COVID-19 positive players are, it can’t be identified what the source of the infection may be. However, a breach of the bio-bubble can’t be completely written off. It should also be made not off that KKR, RCB, DC and PBKS are all stationed in Gujarat, and thus, this news may have an effect on teams other than KKR as well.
This is not the first time a news of players testing positive for COVID-19 has rocked the IPL. Prior to this, Nitish Rana also tested positive for COVID-19. The KKR player made just in time with a negative report before the tournament started. Axar Patel, who’s been seen scalping wickets for DC was also positive and sat out for a few games.
Other than the players, some Wankhede Stadium staff also tested positive, but the IPL administration chose not to call off the games and the tournament continued. Amid the crisis, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson chose to return Down Under.
COVID-19 SOP issued by BCCI before IPL 2021
Before the starting of the IPL 2021, the BCCI had issued an SOP which explained how the teams would be managed in the COVID-19 crisis for the next two and a half months.
The SOP stated that the players who were to return from the India VS England series would be transferred from bubble to bubble. The players who were to join their teams directly from bio bubble would not be forced to quarantine and would be eligible to join the team.
“Players coming directly from the Bubble created for the India vs. England series, may be permitted to join the franchise squad without serving the mandatory quarantine period, provided they satisfy the criteria of moving directly to the franchise team hotel either in the team bus or on a chartered flight,” the SOP stated.
Moreover, there were new rules regarding the handling of the ball. The SOP stated that application of saliva for ball shining is restricted. Prior to the IPL, it was a common practice for umpires to sanitize the ball every time it was hit out of the ground. But in its SOP, BCCI said how the transmission chances of COVID-19 virus from ball was low that significant. But to be on the safe side, the BCCI said that if the ball is hit out of the ground, a replacement ball will be provided.
“New scientific study of cricket balls as potential vectors of the novel coronavirus showed the risk of transmission to be very low. If the cricket ball goes in the stands or outside the stadium, the 4th umpire will provide a replacement from the library of cricket balls. The previous ball when returned will be sanitized with alcohol-based wipes and/or UV-C by the 4th umpire and placed in the library,” the statement said.