A current India cricketer is among multiple members of the Chennai Super Kings contingent who have tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the IPL franchise to extend its quarantine period in Dubai and causing upheaval ahead of the event starting September 19. The franchise is yet to issue a formal statement but a league source told PTI that the number of positive cases could be between 10 to 12. “Yes, a right-arm medium fast bowler, who has recently played for India in white-ball cricket, along with a few staff members have tested positive for COVID-19. The number could be as high as 12,” the senior IPL source said.
While there is panic in the BCCI’s rank and file, it is understood that for the time being, there is no imminent threat to the league, shifted out of India this year due to the pandemic. It is still not clear if CSK would be ready for the September 19 league opener against Mumbai Indians. “As far as we know, one of the senior-most officials of the CSK management, an official’s wife, and at least two members of their social media team are also COVID-19 positive,” the source said.
According to the BCCI’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), all those who test positive are mandated to go through an additional seven-day quarantine. They can enter the bio-secure bubble only after returning negative in tests to be conducted after the extended isolation. It is understood that all the members of the jumbo contingent, who tested positive, are “largely asymptomatic”.
The biggest challenge will be tracing those who came in contact with these contingent members as it is understood that most of them contracted the virus in Chennai, where the team had a short training camp before heading to Dubai. An IPL source is convinced that any likelihood of the team’s camp starting on September 1 is very slim. “I don’t think they can start the camp from September 1. They cannot even think of resuming the camp before September 5,” he said.
In the BCCI corridors, there was bewilderment over the team’s decision to have a camp in Chennai before boarding the flight to Dubai. Tamil Nadu has recorded more than four lakh cases so far. “CSK practised three days in Chennai out of the five days. Was there any tangible gain achieved from that camp?” a BCCI official said.