Monday's IPL 2021 match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and the Royal Challenges Bangalore in Ahmedabad has been rescheduled after the Knight Riders' spinner Varun Chakravarthy and seam bowler Sandeep Warrier tested positive for Covid-19.
This is the first instance of positive Covid-19 cases within an IPL team bubble since the 2021 season started.
It is believed that Chakravarthy recently left the IPL's biosecure bubble through the official green channel to get a scan on an injured shoulder and that is where he might have been exposed. An IPL statement on Monday said the two players had been "found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days". Barring Chakravarthy and Warrier, the rest of the Knight Riders contingent's latest tests came out clear.
The IPL confirmed the developments, saying in a statement that "Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases," and that its "medical team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours" prior to testing. The entire Knight Riders' contingent has been put in a five-day quarantine in their hotel rooms in Ahmedabad, starting yesterday. That will be over on May 6, two days before their next match, on May 8 against the Delhi Capitals.
Under the IPL's "green channel" protocol, a player requiring treatment - usually scans - is taken in a vehicle (which is in the bubble with a driver), clad in PPE, to the hospital. The testing/treatment is done by medical personnel with PPEs and masks and the player returns in the same bubble vehicle.
The latest development came almost a week after Hemang Amin, BCCI's interim chief executive officer, had reassured all teams that they were "totally safe" in the IPL bubble. The BCCI has also reassured all players and franchises that the 2021 IPL would carry on despite India being caught in the grip of a deadly second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Amin had added that, "to be extra vigilant", the IPL had "strengthened" the testing process, increasing its frequency from every five days initially to every two days for the second leg of the tournament, during which the teams shifted from Chennai and Mumbai to Ahmedabad and Delhi (matches began at the last two venues on April 26).
The Knight Riders are currently seventh on the points table, having won only two of their first seven matches and go up against the high-flying Capitals next. The Capitals were also their opponents when they last played, on April 29. The Capitals, who played the Punjab Kings on Sunday evening, were tested a day after that Knight Riders contest, with everyone coming out clear.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo