NEW DELHI: The Indian Premier League’s attempt to overcome the coronavirus crisis in India took a heavy blow on Monday after two players tested positive for Covid-19, casting doubt on the continuation of the world’s richest cricket tournament.
India is in the midst of a devastating second wave of the virus, with hospitals and crematoria overflowing and medical oxygen supplies lacking, forcing distraught citizens to take to social media for help.
On Monday, the country reported more than 300,000 new cases for the 12th day in a row.
The Indian Cricket Council (BCCI) sued the IPL in this context, defying fierce criticism on social media for hosting the tournament amid the crisis.
On Monday, a game between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders was postponed hours before its scheduled start in Ahmedabad after two players from Kolkata tested positive.
The hashtag #CancelIPL tends to Twitter in India after the announcement.
“Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier have tested positive in the third round of testing within the past four days,” the league said in a statement.
“All other members of the team have tested negative for Covid-19.”
Local media reported that spinner Chakaravarthy left the bio-bubble for a shoulder scan, after which positive cases were reported.
“… Kolkata Knight Riders has now switched to a routine of daily testing to identify all other possible cases and treat them at the earliest,” the league said, adding that the KKR medical team is also looking for close contacts of the players.
Three non-player members of the Chennai Super Kings also reportedly tested positive on Sunday, per ESPNcricinfo. Chennai officials were not immediately available to confirm.
IPL chairman Brijesh Patel did not respond to requests for comment on what the violations meant for the tournament, but a member of the league board said there was no threatens to cancel IPL.
“We are investigating how the infection came about, but we have full confidence in the arrangements of the bio-bubble. It’s totally secure, ”said the member Reuters by phone asking for anonymity.
A senior Indian cricket official said Reuters last week the league would go on as planned as the games brought comfort and entertainment to people and helped keep them indoors.
The IPL draws players from all over the world, with some of the biggest names in cricket from Australia, New Zealand, the West Indies, England and South Africa, among others, signing up each year.
Foreign players win huge sums at the league’s annual auction. Chris Morris of South Africa was the most expensive player in the IPL this season, having been paid just over US $ 2 million (RM 8.2 million) to join Rajasthan Royals.
Players who retire from the IPL will suffer a major financial blow, but despite this, Australians Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson cut their stints short last week, arriving in Australia on Thursday.
On Saturday, the Australian government said its citizens who were in India within 14 days of the date they planned to return home would be banned from entering Australia from Monday, and those who disobeyed would be liable to ‘fines and jail time.
Australia has banned all arrivals from the country until May 15.
Former Australian opener Michael Slater, who worked in India as an IPL commentator but has since allegedly flown to the Maldives, criticized the ban.
“If our government cared about the safety of Australians, it would allow us to return home. It’s a shame, ”Slater said on Twitter.
“Blood on your hands PM. How dare you treat us like that. How about fixing the quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL, but now I have government negligence. “
Cricket Australia have said they have no plans to bring their players back from India anytime soon.
“We’ve been in contact with the players there and they’re generally in a good mood,” Nick Hockley, CA’s interim general manager said on radio. SEN before the BCCI made public the positive cases of the IPL.
“BCCI came out and said they understood and wanted to help the players make sure they got home safely at the end.”
Last year’s IPL took place in the United Arab Emirates due to the pandemic.
The UAE is also the save location for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup, which is due to take place in India in October-November. – Reuters