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Kolkata v Bangalore IPL match postponed after 2 players test positive for Covid


The Indian Premier League (IPL) was forced into its first coronavirus
postponement this season on Monday after two players tested positive
despite the tournament’s bio-secure “bubble”.

The Kolkata Knight
Riders’
match against Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore was
called off just hours before its start in Ahmedabad after Varun
Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier became infected.

The positive
cases come as India’s massive coronavirus surge raises questions about
the IPL and concerns over the country’s hosting of the Twenty20 World
Cup in October and November.

Chakaravarthy and Warrier “have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad” after testing positive, an IPL statement said.

“All other team members have tested negative for Covid-19,” it added.

The
league set up bio-secure bubbles around the eight teams before the
tournament as a devastating wave of cases swept across India.

The
country is recording about 360 000 cases and 3 500 deaths a day and has
been hit by chronic shortages of hospital beds and oxygen.

The IPL
said its doctors were in “continuous touch” with Chakaravarthy, a
29-year-old spinner, and 30-year-old fast bowler Warrier, and were
monitoring their health.

‘Totally safe’

Media reports said the pair may have been infected when they left their team hotel for injury check-ups.

“The
medical team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the
two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample
that returned the positive test results,”
said the statement.

All
IPL games so far have been held behind closed doors, but after three
Australian players left the tournament last week, organisers sought to
reassure the remaining foreign stars that they are “totally safe”.

Adam
Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson left their IPL teams before the
Australian government imposed a ban on arrivals from India.

The Australian Cricket Board has said it is in daily contact with the Australian players still at the IPL.

A
number of players, including Bangalore’s Australian all-rounder Daniel
Sams and Delhi Capitals spinner Axar Patel, tested positive for the
virus before the league started on 9 April.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India has stepped up coronavirus security as the surge has worsened.

Players are tested every two days and cannot order food from outside their hotels.

While
some have questioned going ahead with the tournament during the health
crisis, Indian cricket authorities, who stand to lose hundreds of
millions of dollars if it is halted, have insisted it is helping to
raise spirits.

Kolkata’s Australian fast bowler Pat Cummins, one
of the most expensive imports, said last week “there has been quite a
bit of discussion” over whether the IPL should continue as he announced a
$50 000 donation to buy oxygen equipment.

“I am advised that the
Indian government is of the view that playing the IPL while the
population is in lockdown provides a few hours of joy and respite each
day,” he added.

BCCI acting chief executive Hemang Amin said players were “bringing hope to millions of people who have tuned in”.

His
statement to players said they were “totally safe” in their secure
bubbles and that this year they were “playing for something much more
important… humanity”.


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