In a huge COVID-19 scare in the Indian Premier League, SunRisers Hyderabad player T Natrajan has tested positive for coronavirus. Post the positive test, the left-arm pacer has isolated himself from the rest of the squad. It is being reported that despite testing positive for the infection Natarajan is asymptomatic. Meanwhile, the medical team has identified as many as six close contacts of the player who have been placed in isolation.
These include the all-rounder Vijay Shankar, team manager Vijay Kumar, physiotherapist Shivam Sundar J, team doctor Anjana Vannan, logistics manager Tushar Khedkar and Periyasamy Ganesan who has travelled with the team as a net bowler.
It has further been confirmed in an official release that the close contacts have undergone RT-PCR tests at 5 AM (UAE time) and the test reports have all returned negative. However, despite Natarajan being diagnosed with the infection, the SunRisers Hyderabad match against Delhi Capitals at the Dubai International Stadium set to be played later on Wednesday remains on course.
COVID-19 cases inside bio-secure bubbles forced abrupt suspension of first leg of IPL 2021
The development comes as a big scare ahead for the biggest T20 tournament in the world as the competition has already been once postponed and even been relocated out of India. There were several cases of COVID-19 cases inside the bio-secure bubbles of franchises back in late April-May which had forced the abrupt suspension of the tournament.
After much deliberation, the cash-rich league was shifted to UAE for the September-October window right ahead of the T20 World Cup which was also supposed to be played in India. This way several international teams thought it would be best to allow players to participate in IPL as similar conditions would be at the T20 World Cup later.
Notably, the rescheduled IPL is witnessing RT-PCR testing every third day, instead of every fifth day which was the case during the previous edition in the UAE. In order to cater to the needs of the players and other members of the IPL contingent, a 100-member multidisciplinary team for sports medicine and COVID-19 management has also been set up.
Interestingly, to restrict the movement of players even for medical emergencies, the medical, as well as nursing staff, have been accommodated in the same hotel bio-bubbles where the team members are staying.