As the country fights the rampant second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, franchise officials in the Indian Premier League (IPL) have expressed their concerns with their respective teams heading to Ahmedabad, while other franchises make the move to Mumbai to Chennai or vice-versa.
After staying at pre-designated venues for close to three weeks, the teams are now on the move. Between the last 48 to 72 hours, Delhi Capitals flew from Mumbai to Chennai, Royal Challengers Bangalore flew from Chennai to Mumbai and the Kolkata Knight Riders returned from Chennai to Mumbai. Over the next 72 hours, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Chennai Super Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad will fly to Delhi while Punjab Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore will head to Ahmedabad.
"Fear has gripped us all"
One of the officials from inside the bio-bubble opened up on the daily routine of the players involved in the cash-rich league. He said, “Who wants to begin a day with an antigen test and an RTPCR? Or undergo a swab test every second day? That’s what everybody inside the bubble is going through, wondering if masks are on, hands have been washed, if there’s anybody around who doesn’t belong in the bubble, or proactively enquiring if anybody’s woken up with a fever or cough every morning. Fear has gripped us all.”
"Players are thinking about it all the time"
Another franchise executive flagged his concerns, “Better precautions are being taken this time around, with whatever little experience we gathered from the first round of traveling. But what gives? Who can claim to stay 100% protected from the virus? Obviously, the players are thinking about it all the time.”
India is currently in the grip of a vicious surge - the past few weeks have seen the highest numbers for new daily cases ranging over 100,000 per day. The excitement within the camp of the franchises has been tempered by the health concerns. A resurgent pandemic with new strains poses difficult challenges for the BCCI and its logistics team.