IPL 2020: India cricketer among several CSK members to test positive for Covid-19

Although the names are unknown, this could be the reason behind CSK delaying the start of their practice – originally scheduled to start Friday – by a few days.
Members of the Chennai Super Kings squad look on.(CSK/Twitter)
Members of the Chennai Super Kings squad look on.(CSK/Twitter)
Updated on Aug 28, 2020 08:28 PM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | ByRasesh Mandani and Abhishek Paul

At least 10 members of the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings contingent which is currently stationed in Dubai have tested positive for Covid-19, making it the first such case among the eight teams which are in UAE for the 2020 Indian Premier League.

According to an official in the know, one India player and a senior ranking official are among those who have tested positive. However, there is no official confirmation about the total number of positive cases in the CSK camp.

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“There was a zoom/video meeting on Thursday night where the issue of Covid positive cases in CSK was announced. The India player who has tested positive has mild symptoms,” said an official.

Another source added: “A high ranking official is also positive along with a member of the social media team. When CSK asked an extension of their one-week quarantine period with the BCCI on Friday, it raised an alarm that something was amiss.”

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The CSK franchise is currently staying at the Taj Dubai hotel. They arrived in the UAE city on August 21 and their one-week quarantine should have ended on Friday. CSK were supposed to have their first training session on Saturday, but now there is no clarity on when it will begin.

Before departing for Dubai, CSK conducted a preparatory camp in Chennai from August 15-20 involving Indian members of the squad like Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Karn Sharma, Murali Vijay, Ambati Rayudu among others. Apart from those, there were net bowlers from the Tamil Nadu first-class and age-group teams, some of whom have travelled with the main squad to Dubai.

“Though all precaution was taken, the infected India player has come in close proximity with other players back home in the preparatory camp. He, of course, tested negative in India, otherwise he wouldn’t have boarded the flight to Dubai,” an official said.

The novel coronavirus has an incubation period in the range of 2-14 days, and it can take 2-5 days for an infected person to show up positive in a RT-PCR test. So, the exact point where the CSK members contracted the virus may be hard to trace. However, according to the BCCI’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for this year’s IPL, every travelling member was required to give their travel history for the last three months.

The members were to be tested thrice upon landing in UAE in a span of six days. Till all tests come negative, the players are mandated to stay within their individual rooms and are not allowed to visit any other room. Only after the first week, the players are allowed to enter a ‘team bio-bubble.’

The Covid positive members in the CSK contingent have not been interacting closely with others since August 21, the day they reached Dubai, but travelled together from India before that.

What next?

As per the SOP, in case of any positive case in the bio-bubble, the individual who has tested positive would be isolated from the rest of the squad and contact tracing would follow.

The said India player and other members who have tested positive, even if they are asymptomatic or carrying mild symptoms, will now have to be “isolated in the designated area outside the bio-secure environment for 2 weeks” as per the guidelines.

The SOP also mentions “After the 2 weeks isolation, the individual must return 2 negative PCR test reports done 24 hours apart before being permitted to re-enter the Bio-Secure Environment”

CSK are expected to play the opening game on September 19 and the India player who has tested positive and is a regular in the playing XI may have to miss the initial stage of the tournament.

All eight sides of the tournament are currently in the UAE. Teams like Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab have already started training for the IPL, which will be played in three venues in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah. CSK have been one of the most consistent teams in the IPL, reaching the play-offs on all the 10 occasions that they have been part of the league. They reached the final eight times and lifted the trophy thrice. CSK narrowly missed the title last season when they lost to Mumbai Indians in the final by a single run.

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