Kolkata Knight Riders chief executive Venky Mysore said on Monday that the immediate plan is for the team to complete five days of quarantine and hope to be ready for the next match, after two of their players returned positive tests for Covid-19.
The Indian Premier League postponed a match because of the coronavirus crisis for the first time on Monday after two players tested positive, organisers said.
Kolkata Knight Riders’ match against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore was called off just hours before its start in Ahmedabad after Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier had tested positive for the virus.
“Difficult times, but I’m happy to report that both Varun and Sandeep are doing well,” Mysore told broadcasters Star Sports, adding that the entire team was in good spirits when they had a conference call which team co-owner and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Jhan joined in on.
“We have taken all the precautions that are necessary and have been advised by the medical teams of IPL and KKR and also getting appropriate advice from outside on what the right thing to do is. Sandeep, in particular, is doing fine. No temperature, no other symptoms, and he is feeling good. Varun is still a little under the weather, but better than yesterday and both of them are in good spirits.”
Mysore said the organisers have been proactive since when the news came in.
“We found out approximately 24 hours ago about Varun testing positive, so the immediate steps we took was to isolate him, and then later on in the night when we got test results which also involved Sandeep, we put them on a different floor with a different Air Conditioning ducts system to make sure others are appropriately protected.
“We have asked everybody in the bubble (players, support staff, management, hotel staff and service staff) to quarantine, so they are isolated in their rooms as per the advise given to us. The food delivery is on a knock and drop basis, which everyone has gotten used to by now,” Mysore said.
The IPL had said in the statement that KKR have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest.
“The whole idea right now is that it will take perhaps five days, and we are a little fortunate that we have a bit of a break right now because our next game is on the 8th of May (vs Delhi Capitals). So five days of quarantining starting yesterday would take us through the 6th of May, and we had already gotten into a protocol of daily testing.
“So the way it works is that the testing people are coming in and ensuring that the samples are taken well before people go to sleep, which is probably midnight or earlier. While they are sleeping, you know the next day they process the results, and by the time they wake up, we have the test results, so we know what to do in the event if there is something adverse that comes in. But other than Sandeep and, of course, Varun yesterday, everybody else, including hotel staff, everyone involved in the bubble, have all tested negative. So fingers crossed that will continue that way.”
Mysore was asked about when KKR’s players would be eligible to be back in action, if the tests remain negative in the next few days of quarantine.
“The target completion date of this five-day [quarantine] with this daily testing is the 6th of May. The team doctor was on the call as well, and his assessment is that if everything’s goes well, the plan that we have put in place, we should be able to get the results sometime later in the day on the 6th of May which means that potentially we could even get out that evening for a practice, subject to what the coaches want to do and then get ready for 7th and 8th depending on when the rescheduled games would potentially take place.”
Speaking about the call that the players and staff had to discuss the plans, Mysore said: “This call was to make sure we get together and give them all the assurances about the steps already taken and how we feel about it. At the same time, to allow them the opportunity to ask questions about what was on their minds, quite a few comments came up. It was a platform to help them to put it to rest and thinking by themselves in a room while isolating. The strength and conditioning coach was talking about training people during quarantine, was already mooting ideas about it.”
The league set up bio-secure bubbles around the eight teams before the tournament as a devastating wave of cases swept across India, which is also to host the T20 World Cup in October-November.
According to ESPNCricinfo, Varun, one of the members who has tested positive, had gone to a hospital recently for a shoulder scan.
All IPL games so far have been held behind closed doors, but after three Australian players left the tournament last week, organisers sought to reassure the remaining foreign stars that they are “totally safe”.
Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson left their IPL teams before the Australian government imposed a ban on arrivals from India.
The Australian Cricket Board has said it is in daily contact with the Australian players still at the IPL. The English Cricket Board also said it was talking with staff and players in India.
A number of players, including Bangalore’s Australian all-rounder Daniel Sams and Delhi Capitals spinner Axar Patel, tested positive for the virus before the league started on April 9.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has stepped up coronavirus security as the surge has worsened while some questioned going ahead with the tournament during the health crisis.
Kolkata’s Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins, one of the most expensive imports, said last week “there has been quite a bit of discussion” over whether the IPL should continue as he announced a $50,000 donation to buy oxygen equipment.
“I am advised that the Indian government is of the view that playing the IPL while the population is in lockdown provides a few hours of joy and respite each day,” he had added.
BCCI acting chief executive Hemang Amin said players were “bringing hope to millions of people who have tuned in”.
India on Monday registered 3,68,147 new coronavirus cases, taking the tally in the country to 1,99,25,604 since the pandemic broke out in January 2020. This is the second consecutive day when the daily infection count dropped after crossing the 4-lakh mark.
(With AFP inputs)
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