Covid: KKR's Varun Chakravarthy, Sandeep Warrier test positive
Kolkata Knight Riders mystery spinner Varun Chakravarthy and pacer Sandeep Warrier have tested positive for Covid-19, throwing the 14th edition of the IPL into disarray and forcing Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) mandarins into a huddle on Monday.
Hours later it emerged that two Chennai Super Kings support staff — chief executive Kasi Viswanathan and bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji — along with a bus attendant had also tested positive.
All three went through another round of RT-PCR tests after the Rapid Antigen tests for Viswanathan and Balaji returned negative results.
Late evening it was learnt that Viswanathan’s second RT-PCR test was negative. Balaji and the bus attendant have again returned positive and will continue to be in quarantine outside the bio-bubble for 10 days.
The BCCI’s medical team has asked both the franchises to repeat tests on a daily basis and is busy contact-tracing to be sure about the extent of damage.
While the BCCI was informed about Chakravarthy’s test result on Sunday, Warrier’s case was detected on Monday. Both players have been isolated and KKR’s Monday evening match against Royal Challengers Bangalore was accordingly rescheduled.
A final decision on the fresh date is expected in a day or two.
The rest of the KKR players are reported to be safe.
Eoin Morgan’s team are currently seventh on the points table having won only two of their seven matches. They played their last match against Delhi Capitals on April 29. Their next match is scheduled for May 8, the return leg against Delhi Capitals.
The BCCI also asked Delhi Capitals players and support staff to go into isolation on Monday afternoon. Since they played their last match against KKR, the medical team didn’t wish to take any chances. The entire contingent is now confined to their hotel rooms though the duration of their isolation is not yet clear.
Chakravarthy is learnt to have recently left the biosecure bubble through the official green channel for a scan on his shoulder and was exposed to the outside world.
An IPL statement said the two players had been “found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days”.
“Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases,” and that its “medical team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours” prior to testing, the IPL confirmed.
The other KKR players and support staff have been put in quarantine for five days from Sunday.
The IPL had recently increased the frequency of its testing procedures from every five days to every two days once the teams shifted from Chennai and Mumbai to Ahmedabad and Delhi. Several franchise officials believe that airports are the most “vulnerable and dangerous” places as far as contracting the virus is concerned.
“Difficult times, but I’m happy to report that both Varun and Sandeep are doing well,” KKR chief executive Venky Mysore said. “We have taken all the precautions that are necessary and have been advised by the medical teams of IPL and KKR and also getting appropriate advice from outside … Sandeep, in particular, is doing fine. No temperature, no other symptoms, and is feeling good. Varun is still a little under the weather, but better than yesterday and both of them are in good spirits.”
The team, including principal owner Shah Rukh Khan, caught up on a video call to take stock of how everyone was feeling within the camp.
Monday’s events have already put the rest of the franchises in alert mode.
“This has come as a shock to most of us. This is the first instance of Covid-19 cases within the bio-bubble this season. It is more alarming because of the prevalent situation in the country,” a franchise official told The Telegraph.