In a massive blow to the Indian Premier League (IPL), a Chennai Super Kings (CSK) bowler and 10-12 members of the team's support staff have tested positive for coronavirus.
The Super Kings landed in Dubai on August 21 and were expected to start training on Friday. Other teams have already started training. But before heading to the UAE, CSK had conducted a short training camp for the Indian players in Chennai.
According to reports, subsequent to this unwanted development, the quarantine period for the MS Dhoni-led team has been extended.
Confirming the reports, a source in IPL on conditions of anonymity said, "Yes, a right-arm medium fast bowler, who has recently played for India, along with a few staff members have tested positive for COVID-19."
The unnamed bowler is believed to be a current India limited-overs cricketer.
Check CSK Squad Here:
MS Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Kedar Jadhav, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla, Dwayne Bravo, Karn Sharma, Shane Watson, Shardul Thakur, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, Murali Vijay, Francois Du Plessis, Imran Tahir, Deepak Chahar, Lungi Ngidi, Mitchell Santner, KM Asif, Narayan Jagadeesan, Monu Kumar, RutuRaj Gaikwad, R. Sai Kishore.
"As far as we know, one of the senior-most officials of the CSK management and his wife, and at least two members of their social media team are also COVID-19 positive," he added.
Expectedly, there is panic in the BCCI's rank and file but it is understood that for the time being, there is no imminent threat to the league.
The franchise is yet to issue a formal statement but reports claim, expectedly, that numbers of infection could increase.
There are also unconfirmed reports that most of them contracted the virus in Chennai, where the team had a training camp at the behest of Dhoni.
Now, the biggest challenge will be tracing those who came in contact with the infected persons.
As per BCCI's COVID-19 protocols, all teams would have to undergo a test at the airport upon landing in the UAE followed by three tests on days 1, 3 and 5 during the mandatory six-day quarantine at the team hotel.
Only after all test results come out negative the teams are allowed to start training.
Interestingly, the BCCI is yet to release the fixture of the tournament. And this latest development can spell doom.
Rival Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) captain Virat Kohli, warning his teammates, had said that one mistake from anyone could "spoil" the entire tournament.
"We have followed what's been told to us and I would expect everyone to be on the same page in terms of securing the bubble at all times and making sure that nothing is compromised.
"...Because I think one mistake by any one of us could literally spoil the whole tournament. And none of us want to do that," Kohli had said during the team's first meeting.
RCB's director of cricket operations Mike Hesson, who was present in the meeting along with head coach Simon Katich, spoke about the consequences of violating the rules after Kohli posed him a question.
"It (violation) will be dealt with very seriously. For accidental breach, players will be removed and sent into isolation for seven days and then come back only after he tests negative.
"There will be strong consequences if players chose to do that (violate protocols). Players will sign a document which explains the consequences," Hesson said.
Kohli added, "We have to understand that we need to protect the bubble."
The tournament begins on September 19.
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