Delhi Capitals allrounder Mitchell Marsh has tested positive for Covid-19 and will need to isolate for at least a week as per the IPL rules. Marsh was one of three members of the Capitals camp to test positive on Monday, the others being team doctor Abhijit Salvi and social media team member Akash Mane.
With two other members of the contingent - physio Patrick Farhart (on April 15) and sports massage therapist Chetan Kumar (April 16) - having already tested positive for Covid-19, the total number in the Capitals camp has now risen to five.
The IPL will take a call on whether the Capitals can travel to Pune to play Punjab Kings on April 20.
In a statement, Capitals said Marsh had been admitted in hospital after testing positive. "The Delhi Capitals medical team is closely monitoring Marsh's condition," the statement said. "A few more members from the Delhi Capitals bio-bubble, including support staff members, have returned positive tests as well. Though they are all asymptomatic, their condition is being monitored closely by the franchise.
"All remaining members of the bubble are currently in isolation in their respective rooms, and will be tested regularly."
Doubts over the possibility of the match taking place emerged after Marsh tested positive during the rapid testing after Capitals played the Royal Challengers Bangalore last Saturday. Marsh had struggled for fluency while batting, with Capitals losing by 16 runs.
It is understood that Marsh underwent two rounds of RT-PCR tests subsequently. While the first returned negative, the second turned positive. ESPNcricinfo had earlier wrongly reported that Marsh returned two PCR negative tests.
Meanwhile, Farhart had tested positive the day before Capitals played Royal Challengers. Consequently, the IPL asked both teams to maintain social distancing and not mingle like players and coaches do after a game. The teams didn't follow the customary post-match handshakes either.
As per the IPL rules any person testing positive in the tournament bubble would need to isolate for a minimum of seven days. To re-enter the bubble, the person would need to return consecutive negative RT-PCR tests taken 24 hours apart.
If a franchise had multiple positive cases, the rule says the team can take the field with a minimum of 12 players, including seven Indians and one substitute. In the scenario where 12 players are not available then the IPL would take the final call, which would be binding.
Both the teams and the IPL are bound to be concerned by the development, considering the 2021 IPL had to be abandoned at the halfway stage after the number of Covid-positive cases multiplied across several teams. At least five teams had returned positive cases last year, including Capitals after their then legspinner Amit Mishra returned two positive tests.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo