The Indian Premier League (IPL) match between Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) on Monday has been postponed after two Indian players in the KKR team – spinner Varun Chakravarthy and medium pacer Sandeep Warrier – tested positive for Covid-19. And with teams that played against KKR over the last 14 days being asked to self-isolate by their respective franchises, the BCCI had a rescheduling nightmare on its hands.
“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,” said an IPL press release.
It added: “Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The Medical Team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. 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 new date for the KKR-RCB game that was scheduled to be played at Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday will be announced soon.
Today’s match between KKR and RCB has been postponed by the BCCI as per IPL Safety Guidelines after Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for COVID.
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) May 3, 2021
Over the last 14 days, KKR played against Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings and Chennai Super Kings. It is learnt that players from those sides have been asked to self-isolate by their respective franchises. Match officials involved in those matches, too, might have to serve a quarantine period now.
As per the IPL Covid guidelines, “close contact” of an affected person should “isolate for six days” and return “3 negative tests on Day 1, 3 and 6”.
The positive test of KKR players and BCCI’s Covid protocol is expected to put the IPL itinerary in jeopardy. With the final of the tournament scheduled on May 30 and international players expected to return to national duty from early June there’s little leeway for an extension.
The ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final between India and New Zealand is scheduled to be played in Southampton from June 18-22 and the Indian team ideally needs a clear 15-day gap between the IPL and the WTC final.
Covid has breached the IPL bubble at a time when India is reeling under the second wave of the pandemic. Recently, the BCCI ramped up bio-security measures, including additional tests, at the IPL venues. The latest development, however, could rock the boat.