IPL game postponed due to COVID-19 cases

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Monday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) match had to be rescheduled after two players tested positive for COVID-19, raising doubts over the fate of this year’s edition of the world’s richest Twenty20 tournament.

The match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders was postponed hours before its scheduled start in Ahmedabad after two Kolkata players tested positive.

“Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days,” the league said in a statement.

“All other team members have tested negative for COVID-19.”

IPL authorities did not give more details but local media reported that spinner Chakaravarthy had left the bio-bubble for a shoulder scan after which the positive cases were reported.

“…Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest,” the league said.

KKR’s medical team was tracing close contacts of both the players, it added.

ESPNcricinfo reported that three non-playing members of the Chennai Super Kings, including chief executive Kasi Viswanathan and bowling coach L. Balaji, also tested positive on Sunday.

The trio went for another round of testing on Monday to rule out the possibility of false-positive reports, ESPNcricinfo said.

Chennai officials were not immediately available to confirm.

A senior Indian cricket board official told Reuters last week that the league would continue as planned, defying fierce social media criticism for staging the tournament amid India’s national coronavirus crisis.

Australian players Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa, and Kane Richardson cut short their IPL stints and returned home.

India on Monday reported more than 300 000 new coronavirus cases for a 12th straight day.

IPL chairman Brijesh Patel did not respond to requests for comment but a member of the league’s governing council said there was no threat of the tournament being called off.

“We are investigating how the infection happened but we have full confidence in the bio-bubble arrangements. It’s totally secure,” the member told Reuters by telephone requesting anonymity.

Last year’s IPL was staged in the United Arab Emirates because of the pandemic.

The UAE is also the backup venue for this year’s Twenty20 World Cup which is scheduled to take place in India in October-November.