Players, especially foreign recruits, feel more nervous after two COVID-19 cases occurred at the Kolkata Knights camp on Monday, but teams believe there is “no going back” and IPL it must continue despite the ever-increasing threat of a raging pandemic.
Questions have been raised about how a rigorous bio-bubble created for the world’s largest league, the T20, was breached after Varun Chakravarthy and KKR’s Sandeep Warrier became infected with the deadly virus.
Foreign players, who were already worried about returning home with limited travel from India, are more worried.
“There is no going back with half of the tournament. The news (positive cases in KKR) makes the work of BCCI more challenging,” a franchise employee told PTI.
“We heard that a player became infected because he was taken out of the balloon for scanning. So, this could happen outside the balloon. As far as I know, everyone strictly follows the protocols set out by the BCCI and there was no violation there,” he added.
Another team official said the tournament should continue until more teams are affected by the virus.
“Even if you have to pause the tournament, how long can you hold on?” The only way is to keep isolating the positives and keep playing. Players are naturally more anxious now, but that’s mainly because they’re not sure how they’ll get home, “the official said.
The United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand have banned travelers from India, and a significant number of players competing in the IPL are from those countries.
Some foreign players like Australia Adam Zampa,, Kane Richardson and Andrew Ty left on a deadline before the travel bans took effect, but most chose to stay back and see the event, which ends on May 30.
“We need to let the BCCI decide what is best for all of us. Flooding them with too many opinions about what needs to be done after the KKR cases would only lead to more confusion,” said another senior team official.
The five-time Mumbai Indians have already tested their players on a daily basis, and other teams are likely to follow suit after the KKR events.
KKR players have been told to isolate themselves in the room, and even teams like Delhi Capitals have told their players and support staff to stay in their rooms after work on Monday.
The two sides played each other four days ago.
“After the news, we were told to stay in our rooms and strictly follow the protocols. The players are fully aware that the situation outside is gloomy and the IPL bio bubble is a much safer environment at the moment,” said a member of the support staff of a leading franchise. .
A former Indian player competing in the league summed it up appropriately.
“There is a lot of anxiety among the players. Obviously we are tested every other day, but looking at the situation in the country, you are always afraid of what happens next, in case you are positive,” he said.
“We are hanging there, but you can’t just dismiss the fear factor,” he added.