Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings' preparations for the impending season ran into rough weather following reports of one of its bowlers and some support staff members testing positive for COVID-19. Though the names have not been revealed so far, it is believed that the CSK bowler, infected with the dreaded virus, is a fast bowler and has represented India in the past.
But the CSK management’s worries only grew further after at least 10 members of the support staff have also tested positive. This prompted the franchise to frantically put the entire contingent through a fourth COVID-19 test to rule out further infections. This has hugely dented the team’s plans for full preparations for the forthcoming IPL season and the team’s quarantine period was also stretched now till September 1.
The IPL 2020 is scheduled to begin in UAE from September 19 following the BCCI’s decision to shift the event to the Gulf country due to the unabated coronavirus pandemic in India. CSK was among the three teams, besides Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and defending champions Mumbai Indians, to have arrived in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on August 21for the showpiece event.
While the other teams preferred quarantine of individual members at their respective places, the CSK, led by MS Dhoni, emerged as the only team to have held a short-stinted training camp in Chennai prior to their arrival in the UAE.
Despite shifting the event to UAE, the IPL put in place strict COVID-19 protocols for all the teams in view of the global precarious situation. The protocol warrants that the players are tested on the first, third and sixth days of the quarantine period. Only those who test negative in all the three tests are to be allowed to take part in the training. The latest development of team members testing positive will be seen as a huge setback for the CSK in its further preparations for the tournament.
There has been no news on the status of players and support staff of the other two teams so far. On Friday, RCB's Twitter handle splashed pictures of its captain Virat Kohli and others having some off-time after their stipulated quarantine duration came to an end.
The adversity in the form of the pandemic notwithstanding, the IPL has chalked out a reasonably elaborate schedule for the tournament with 60 games played over 53 days at three venues in the UAE, i.e., Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah.