Covid strike puts CSK on backfoot
At least 10 members of the Chennai Super Kings contingent currently in Dubai for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League have tested positive for Covid-19, throwing the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led three-time champions’ plans into disarray.
Sources have confirmed to The Telegraph that those who tested positive include an India pacer besides a couple of net bowlers, few members of the social media group and the wife of a top CSK official.
Neither the IPL nor the franchise has issued a statement so far.
CSK, which reached Dubai on August 21 after a five-day conditioning camp in Chennai, have been forced to abandon their training after completing the mandatory six-day quarantine. The franchise will have to undergo another seven days of quarantine and can resume practice only after September 1.
Those who have tested positive have been taken out of the bio-security bubble and placed in isolation for 14 days, as per the Standard Operating Procedures of the BCCI.
It has been learnt that none tested positive during the three PCR tests in Chennai before departure. It was once they landed in Dubai that the members tested positive on Days 1 and 3 after arrival at the hotel. As per the SOPs, the third PCR test was done on Day 6. The squad members also went through a fourth PCR test on Friday as a precautionary measure.
Questions are being raised about the pre-departure camp at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, where cases have been on the uptick. CSK CEO Kasi Viswanathan has insisted that it was held at the insistence of captain Dhoni.
“I had reservations about conducting the camp here because of the bio-bubble which we will have to observe,” Viswanathan said in a CSK video on August 26. “In fact, I even sent a message to him (Dhoni) whether it will be worthwhile having a camp of five days before we leave for Dubai. But (the) captain was crystal clear in his thoughts.”
CSK obviously didn’t show the guts to defy Dhoni.
The BCCI, however, isn’t too perturbed. “Positive tests have happened at every sporting event, be it La Liga, Premier League or Formula 1. We have got to move on taking it in stride,” a senior BCCI functionary said.