New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: With just a week to go for the start of the 14th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021), ground staff at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai have tested positive for the coronavirus. The first match of the IPL 2021 is scheduled to be played at the Wankhede Stadium between Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals on April 10, 2021. The news came amid the rising case of coronavirus in Maharashtra with IPL franchises keeping their fingers crossed for the tournament.

An official of one of the franchises -- currently based in Mumbai -- as quoted by news agency ANI, said that it does change the situation and calls for stricter protocols. "You do get a little concerned when you hear such things days before the start of the tournament. We have all been following protocols to the core, but obviously, when such news comes in, it makes us a little wary. We are looking at keeping things as tight as possible. Have to be on our guard," the official said

Another franchise official said it was a wake-up call for everyone heading into the tournament. "This could actually serve as a wake-up call before the start of the tournament. Sometimes we tend to get a little comfortable after going inside the bubble. But this will ensure we follow every protocol and there is no messing up," the official said.

Wankhede is set to host 10 IPL games this season from April 10-25. Four franchises -- Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings and Rajasthan Royals have set up their base in Mumbai as of now.

Maharashtra reported 47,827 new COVID-19 cases and 202 deaths on Friday with Mumbai registering the highest-ever single day spike of 8,832 new cases. It was the second day in a row that Mumbai recorded more than 8,500 cases.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, Kolkata Knight Riders batsman Nitish Rana had tested negative for coronavirus after returning a positive result on March 22. Having undergone self-isolation after the positive result, he underwent a COVID-19 test on Thursday and tested negative. He will start training shortly with an eye on the opening game against SunRisers Hyderabad on April 11.

Commenting on the turn of events, KKR issued a statement which read: "Nitish Rana had checked into the KKR team hotel in Mumbai, on March 21 with a negative COVID report which was done on March 19. As per IPL protocol, he was tested on March 22, during his quarantine and the report showed that he was positive. He has had no symptoms and has been completely asymptomatic since. Again as per IPL protocol, he isolated himself and was tested again today. We are glad to report that he has tested negative. We expect him to start training with the team shortly and be fully fit well before the start of the season".

The BCCI SOP says a player who tests positive must isolate in the designated area outside the bio-secure environment for a minimum of 10 days from the first day of symptoms or the date of collection of the sample which resulted in a positive RT-PCR report, whichever is earlier.


(With ANI Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan