The Indian Premier League authorities are reportedly considering moving the tournament to one venue after two Kolkata Knight Riders players tested positive in the IPL’s bio-bubble on Monday leading to their match against Royal Challengers Bangalore being postponed.
Mumbai has emerged to be the most likely host city, according to multiple reports. The move is set to happen by Friday, May 7 and the upcoming Kolkata and Bangalore leg of the IPL may be canceled entirely. The rescheduling will also mean more double headers and a possible delay.
The first leg of IPL 2021, held in a caravan style with the eight teams divided between two cities, was held in Mumbai and Chennai. Currently, the teams are in Delhi and Ahmedabad and IPL stakeholders in both bubbles are said to be affected.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India is considering moving to Mumbai in order to minimise risks, especially with travel, reported ESPNCricinfo. Mumbai has three stadiums – Wankhede, DY Patil and Brabourne – along with training facilities at the Mumbai Cricket Association’s ground in the Bandra-Kurla Complex, and most of them were used by the teams.
According to a report by NDTV, BCCI has already made calls to hotels in Mumbai for creating bio-bubbles for eight teams.
Apart from the confirmed cases of KKR’s Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier on Monday, two members of the Chennai Super Kings team – bowling coach L Balaji and team travel staff member – have also tested positive, the franchise confirmed on Tuesday.
The CSK team is now in isolation, as per the protocols.
Initially, the results were said to be from the latest round of testing on Sunday and did not include any players that are currently in New Delhi. A top BCCI official was quoted as saying by PTI that the CSK reports were a case of “false positives”.
But CSK had reportedly asked to sit out of their next match against Rajasthan Royals in New Delhi on Wednesday.
The Indian Express reported that CSK have informed BCCI that they will play only once everyone who came in contact with the two people who tested positive cleared three tests over a six-day period, as per Covid-19 standard operating procedure of the IPL.
“The coach is asymptomatic. However, as per the BCCI’s Covid protocols, everybody who has come in contact with him will have to undergo a six-day quarantine. We can’t play our next game (against Rajasthan Royals).” a CSK official told Indian Express.
To compound matters, the cases in the CSK camp puts Mumbai Indians players also under a cloud since the two teams played each other on Sunday.
Similarly, the Delhi Capitals, the last team to play against KKR, have been asked to isolate themselves at their hotel in Ahmedabad.
In Delhi, neither the Mumbai Indians nor the Sunrisers Hyderabad, who are scheduled to play each other on Tuesday, trained at the Arun Jaitley Stadium after suspected positive cases among the ground staff.
PTI reported that some groundsmen at Delhi’s Arun Jaitley 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 chief Rohan Jaitley is reported to have said “none of the groundsmen on duty” are among them.
The IPL is being played inside a bio-secure bubble and with teams playing at only two venues at a given time. The two cities currently in operation are Delhi and Ahmedabad, both hit by the pandemic, and there have been questions over the tournament continuing especially in the national capital. A few players and officials have withdrawn from the event.
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