IPL 2021: Hospital Visit in ‘Green Channel’ the Reason for Bubble Burst?
It should have been another day of Indian Premier League action from the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, with Kolkata Knight Riders scheduled to take on Royal Challengers Bangalore. However, Monday turned out to be a day of action off the field, with the IPL being hit by COVID-19 scare. Not just in Ahmedabad, but also in Delhi. Two KKR players – Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier – have tested positive for the virus, the BCCI confirmed. The game between RCB and KKR has been rescheduled to a later date. Later, it emerged that three non-playing staff members of CSK – L Balaji (bowling coach), Kasi Viswasanathan (CEO) and their bus driver – tested positive on Sunday. Antigen tests on Monday showed a negative result though, so everyone is waiting for clarity from the CSK camp.
The promising news is that all from the KKR and CSK camps except the above mentioned have tested negative. However, it remains to be seen what happens to the tournament. Will it go on? Or will it be rescheduled? The next few days will be crucial for the fate of the tournament.
For almost a month, the IPL bubble has been safe even as the country has been fighting the raging pandemic. How, then, did the virus enter the bubble?
According to ESPNcricinfo, Varun Chakravarthy left the bubble through the official ‘green channel’ for scans on his shoulder, which is possibly where he contracted the virus. The BCCI protocols allow a player to be taken to hospital in a private vehicle (part of the bubble) in a PPE, and take treatment from medical staff who are also in PPE before the player returns in the same vehicle. Sports Tak added that Varun played the game against Delhi Capitals on Thursday after this, without quarantine.
“Varun Chakaravarthy 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,” IPL said in a media release on Monday.
“Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest,” the statement read.
“The BCCI and the Kolkata Knight Riders prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved and all measures are being taken in that endeavour.”
L Balaji was with the CSK team in the dugout during their Saturday thriller against Mumbai Indians in Delhi. Balaji and two others turned positive results in RT PCR tests conducted over 48 hours. They took a rapid antigen test on Monday, which returned negative results, according to Times of India.
The rest of the team has returned negative results. More tests are expected over the next few days, after which there will be more clarity.
Meanwhile, reports emerged that five groundsmen at the Arun Jaitley stadium in Delhi too tested positive for the virus. The stadium hosted a game on Sunday, with Rajasthan Royals beating Sunrisers Hyderabad.
However, latest reports suggested that none of them were in the ground in the last two days.
As of now, there is no update on the future of the tournament.