Covid cases inside bio-bubble ring alarm among BCCI brass
Four Covid-19 positive cases inside the bio-bubble in the middle of the IPL has set the alarm bells ringing among the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) brass.
Officially though, the BCCI is putting up a brave face and citing instances where the EPL or La Liga weren’t suspended despite reports of positive cases during the tournaments.
However, there are concerns that more cases could lead to fear gripping the players, especially those from overseas. Three Australian players have already left for home citing bubble fatigue and keenness to return before suspension of flights.
“Yes if the fear factor grips the overseas players it could spell disaster. Since flights to most countries are suspended, the players would possibly remain quiet. But the events have certainly brought things under close scrutiny,” a source told The Telegraph.
“As of now there’s nothing to worry about the tournament going ahead. None of the franchises have said that they won’t participate. But if a franchise reports six/seven positive cases then it could turn out to be different.”
An IPL official admitted that the governing council had decided to go ahead with the tournament come what may in March. But what they didn’t apprehend was the extent of damage the virus has brought along its way.
“More than 3.5 lakh daily cases was something beyond our imagination. Now we are left with no other alternative but to hope that the tournament finishes without any further bottlenecks,” said the official.
The positive cases have also brought into limelight the role of the IPL’s chief medical officer. “An UK-based agency, Restrata, was in charge of the bio-bubble last season. This time they have outsourced it to a medical company, which hasn’t acted professionally. Did the bio-bubble managers perform their duties efficiently?” the official wondered.
What’s surprising is while the Delhi Capitals contingent has been asked to isolate, no such restrictions have been imposed on CSK despite their bowling coach testing positive.
Another factor that has kept the BCCI worried is the T20 World Cup scheduled to be held in India in October-November. The BCCI knows well that smooth conduct of the IPL is vital to retaining their hosting rights. Even the International Cricket Council (ICC) is keeping a close watch.
The ICC has already identified UAE as a back-up venue and any wrong step by the BCCI could jeopardise the hosting rights.
As of now the BCCI has decided to go ahead with the IPL’s scheduled fixtures though a revision cannot be ruled out. Tuesday’s match in Delhi will go ahead but Wednesday’s clash involving CSK and Rajasthan Royals could be postponed.
The IPL next moves to Calcutta and Bangalore, two cities which have been badly affected by the pandemic.
The BCCI core group will decide whether it is prudent to move the matches to Eden Gardens and the Chinnaswamy.