Monday’s (May 3) IPL 2021 fixture against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) is in doubt as multiple members of Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) squad and the support staff are reportedly ill and are isolating.
According to the report published by The Age, sources close to the developments confirmed “that several personnel within the KKR camp – which features Australian superstar Pat Cummins – are unwell” and the two-time champions’ match versus RCB is now under threat.
It was speculated initially that one of the players to test COVID-19 positive within the KKR camp is their spearhead Cummins. But in a report published by the ANI, a BCCI official confirmed that those to have contracted the virus among KKR players are finger-spinner Varun Chakravarthy and pacer Sandeep Warrier.
The official also mentioned that the RCB aren’t too keen to indulge in a contest with a scare of potential COVID-19 spread in the opposition camp.
“Varun and Sandeep tested positive and that made the RCB camp wary of the situation. The game is set to be postponed,” the BCCI official was quoted as saying in the report.
It is understood that Chakravarthy recently left the IPL bio-bubble to carry out a scan on his shoulder and might have gotten exposed to the virus. “Barring Chakravarthy and Warrier, the rest of the Knight Riders contingent’s tests came out clear,” mentioned ESPNcricinfo in a separate report.
The game slotted for the Monday night has now been rescheduled for a later date in the tournament by BCCI and the IPL governing council, albeit an official statement is awaited.
This is the first instance of players who are inside the multiple IPL bubbles testing positive since the competition began on April 9.
KKR vs RCB IPL match in doubt as several KKR players fall ill
Before the tournament, Nitish Rana and Devdutt Padikkal – who play for Delhi Capitals (DC), Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), respectively – tested positive for coronavirus. All three players were made to go through self-isolation but later allowed back in their teams’ camp upon successive negative tests.
Ten members of the groundstaff at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai also tested COVID-19 positive but that, thankfully, didn’t impact any of the ten IPL 2021 scheduled in the city.
India is experiencing an unprecedented health crisis due to the latest wave of the ongoing pandemic, which has resulted in a surge of COVID-19 positive cases and deaths across the country.
And though the IPL 2021 had gone largely unscathed until Monday afternoon, it wasn’t too detached from the situation of emergency within India and its global impact either. Multiple players have opted out of the competition prematurely in last few weeks due to bio-bubble fatigue and also anxiety over the suspension of international flights from here and to India.
After the UK government red-listed India, the one in Australia banned all passenger flights from here till May 15. The decision triggered the early departure of Australian players Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson, and Adam Zampa.
Taking note of the situation, IPL COO Hemang Amin reassured all the overseas players still involved in the tournament that the BCCI will ensure their safe return. Hemang addressed the players’ concerns via a letter sent on behalf of the board.
Going back to the KKR issue, the team will now have to do without their first-choice spinner Chakravarthy, even as they languish in the bottom half of the points table with just 2 wins and 5 defeats from 7 matches.