After spending nearly three weeks in a medical care facility in Mumbai, India and Delhi Capitals allrounder Axar Patel has bounced back from Covid-19. Patel, who tested positive in early April, rejoined the Capitals on Thursday in Chennai.
"Aadmi dekh ke hi toh mujhe maza aa rahan hai (I'm getting sheer joy just by seeing people)," Patel said in a video put out by the franchise on Friday, expressing his joy and relief at recovering from Covid-19 which has enveloped India with a vicious second wave. Patel is back to full fitness and participated in his first team training session on Friday.
"This is the best moment in my life after my Test debut," Patel said. "I was alone in my room for 20 days and I didn't have anything to do. I was watching the matches and one good thing was that our team won most of the matches, so I got even more motivated to re-join the side. We are just focusing on how my body is reacting to training sessions."
Patel had originally checked into the Capitals' team hotel on March 28 in Mumbai, where the 2020 IPL runners-up played their first three matches this season. While he had entered the bubble with a negative test report, on April 3 the Capitals issued a media statement, saying Patel's second test at the team hotel had come out positive. He was immediately moved to a medical facility where he was isolating in his own room.
In his absence, the Capitals had roped in Shams Mulani, a left-arm-fingerspin-bowling allrounder from Mumbai, as a temporary like-for-like replacement for Patel.
Patel's all-round skills offer the Capitals a good balance as he can provide depth in the batting, too. Along with R Ashwin and Amit Mishra, the Capitals, who are currently third on the points table, fielded uncapped Indian allrounder Lalit Yadav in their last two matches.
However, it is likely the franchise will allow Patel a bit more time to recover and train considering he has not played since March 12, in the first T20I against England.
The Capitals play their next game on April 25 against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Chennai.
*This story was updated with quotes from Patel at 13:55 IST on April 23

Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo