Axar Patel test positive for COVID19, BCCI says too late to shift matches

IPL, April 3: Delhi Capitals allrounder Axar Patel has tested positive for COVID19 after joining the team in Mumbai with a negative report on March 28 and subsequently testing positive in the second test taken. He has been taken to a medical care facility.

With less than a week to for the start, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has plunged into a crisis with a player and another team member contracting the coronavirus.

Axar Patel had checked into the team hotel in Mumbai on March 28, 2021, with a negative COVID19 report. His report from the second COVID test came positive. He is currently in isolation at a designated medical care facility. The Delhi Capitals medical team is in constant touch with Axar and ensuring his safety and well-being. We wish him a speedy recovery,” the Delhi franchise said in a statement

A member of Chennai Super Kings’ content team too has tested positive and has subsequently been put under isolation.

CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan confirmed that the individual was not in contact with the players or the support staff and was on a different floor even before returning a positive result on his Covid-19 test.

Even as the franchises were grappling with the potential threat from the virus, reports emerged that multiple groundsmen of the Wankhede Stadium also failed the test.

A Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) source has denied the reports, saying the groundstaff have subsequently come negative but the situation in Mumbai, which will be hosting 10 games in the first fortnight of the season, is fast becoming serious with the state Chief Minister not ruling out the possibility of reimposing a lockdown.

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There are about 2.9 million cases in Maharastra with Mumbai, the virtual hotspot in the country, registering over 8000 new cases a day of late. In such a backdrop there has been widespread concern among the franchises if the BCCI has kept a Plan B.

BCCI, however, remains confident of pulling off the matches in Mumbai.

It’s too late to move the matches from Mumbai now. The members of the organizing team have been in a separate bubble. BCCI had Hyderabad as a backup but it is very difficult to move it in a week,” a senior BCCI official told media.

Four franchises – Chennai Super Kings, Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals – have their bases in Mumbai for the first leg of the league.