Even as the COVID-19 pandemic was wreaking havoc around India, the Indian Premier League (IPL) seemed to be safe from its effects due to strict restrictions and the employment of bio-bubbles. However, in a sudden turn of events, two players from Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) tested positive for the virus today. Further, there were positive tests among Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) support staff and groundstaff in Delhi.
These positive cases have now thrown the tournament in doubt. Today’s match between KKR and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) has been postponed without a date being announced. Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has stated that the IPL will go ahead as per the original schedule, a fear over whether there could be more cases being reported soon has emerged.
Franchise officials speak on the current situation
An official associated with one of the franchises reportedly spoke to PTI and said, “There is no going back now with half of the tournament done. The news (positive cases in KKR) makes the BCCI’s job more challenging. We have been hearing that a player got infected because he was taken outside the bubble for scans. So, it could have happened outside the bubble. As far as I know, everyone is strictly following the protocols laid out by the BCCI and there was no breach there.”
Another official said, “Even if you have to pause the tournament, how long can you hold back? The only way is to keep isolating the positive cases and keep playing. The players are naturally more anxious now but it is mainly because they are not sure about how they would get back home.”
An official word by the BCCI on the rescheduling and the status of the rest of the tournament is awaited.