New Delhi: A COVID-19 outbreak left the star-sprinkled IPL on tenterhooks as Kolkata Knight Riders' Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for the dreaded virus, forcing postponement of their game against Royal Challengers Bangalore, while cases also came to light in the Chennai Super Kings camp.
The match, which was to be held in Ahmedabad this evening, will be rescheduled some time later during the tournament, which will conclude on May 30.
"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," the league, which features the biggest names in international cricket, said in a press release.
Apart from this, Chennai Super Kings CEO Kasi Viswanathan, bowling coach L Balaji and a bus cleaner with the contingent tested positive on Sunday. A top BCCI official, after declaring all three cases to be "false positives", later clarified that Balaji along with the unnamed cleaner had come out positive even in the repeat test.
CSK, currently based in Delhi, suspended their training for the day and are scheduled to face Rajasthan Royals on May 5. The team had been hit by COVID cases even in the 2020 edition which was held in the UAE.
There was cause of concern in Delhi too as a few groundsmen at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, which is due to host Mumbai Indians vs SunRisers Hyderabad on Tuesday, have also tested positive for the virus.
However, Delhi and Districts Cricket Association (DDCA) chief Rohan Jaitley asserted that "none of the groundsmen on duty" are among them.
The BCCI continued to insist that the league will go on, but Monday's developments have definitely cast a shadow on how the COVD-19 threat would be managed for an event being staged across six venues -- two at one time.
KKR last played on April 29 against Delhi Capitals in Ahmedabad and the development is bound to trigger anxiety in the league, which had been going along smoothly so far in a bio-secure bubble in front of empty stands.
"Now, the DC players (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 source said.
According to IPL's Standard Operating Procedure for COVID-19 management, any close contact of an infected person has to isolate for six days and return three negative tests on days 1, 3 and 6.
It is learnt that KKR's pace spearhead Pat Cummins revealed the latest development to all the Australian players in the IPL after Chakravarthy, while undergoing some shoulder scans for a niggle after Thursday's game, tested positive for the virus.
Chakravarthy has appeared in all of KKR's matches so far and been one of their most successful players with seven wickets under his belt.
KKR and CSK had clashed on April 21 in Mumbai.
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