New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: The future of the 13th season of Indian Premier League has been throw into jeopardy with the coronavirus positive results of Chennai Super Kings members. As many as 13 personnel, including two key players of MS Dhoni-led franchise, have been infected with the contagion. Also, Suresh Raina's departure owing to personal reasons came as another blow to the team which was expected to play against the defending champions Mumbai Indians in the inaugural game as the scheduling convention requires.

The pandemic has plunged the sporting calendar into disarray and the IPL is the latest to fall pray to it. The opening ceremony is less than three weeks away and the tournament's schedule has not yet been announced. Moreover, the BCCI has reportedly put on hold the release of tournament schedule after the coronavirus cases in CSK camp. This has given relevance to the speculations of the IPL 2020 being postponed for another date, depending on the situation.

Adding to these is the fact that Abu Dhabi — which was one of the three venues along with Dubai and Sharjah to host matches — has recently reported a spike in the coronavirus cases.

The tournament was scheduled to begin on September 19 in the United Arab Emirates, nearly six months after it was indefinitely delayed amid the threat of the coronavirus pandemic and the consequent unavailability of the foreign players. With promises of bio-bubble, enhance safety precautions and the likes, it felt the tournament may go smoothly despite the COVID threat, until the recent developments.

The BCCI has left no stones unturned to ensure a safe and successful IPL. Prior to the departure from India, all the players and staff members were tested for coronavirus. Furthermore, the players will be staying inside the bio-bubble in the UAE before and throughout the tournament and will have to follow  several protocols, including  a prohibition on going to another player’s room, wearing special Bluetooth wrist band that will sound an alarm if they break the social distancing rule, sitting inside the team bus in a zig-zag fashion, using the designated areas like gym, team room to communicate with other players, among other things.

CSK’s star cricketer Suresh Raina’s decision to pull out from the tournament may influence other players to take a similar decision. Source told Times of India that “there was a huge ruckus” in the CSK camp on Friday night after Raina made his mind to drop out of the tournament. Raina shared his thoughts about how unsafe he had begun to feel inside the bio-bubble.

“On Friday night, in fact, there was a huge ruckus. He tried calling all his teammates, coach (Stephen Fleming), skipper (MS Dhoni) again and again to share his concerns. MS, in fact, also tried explaining things to him but nothing worked. Eventually, everybody else realised there was no point holding him (back) from travelling back because he was totally gripped by fear,” sources said.

Developments in the coming few days may decide whether the tournament will be held on time, delayed further, or cancelled for this year.

Posted By: Lakshay Raja