The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Saturday confirmed that 13 personnel, including two unnamed players who are to play in the next months Indian Premier League (IPL), have tested positive for COVID-19. The BCCI didn't reveal the identities of the personnel or their team(s).
Sources, however, have told IANS that 12 of these personnel belonged to the Chennai Super Kings. Also, CSK CEO KS Viswanathan tweeted on the team's official handle on Saturday morning that Suresh Raina had pulled out of the competition due to personal reasons.
All teams are now in the UAE where the IPL is scheduled to begin on September 19, though the BCCI hasn't released the matches' scheduled.
In a statement, the BCCI said: "Thirteen personnel have tested positive of which two are players. All the affected personnel as well as their close contacts are asymptomatic and have been isolated from other team members. They are being monitored by the IPL Medical Team."
The BCCI further said that a total of 1,988 RT-PCR COVID tests were carried out between August 20 and 28 across all participant groups in the UAE. "These groups include players, support staff, team management, BCCI staff, IPL operational team, hotel and ground transport staff. As per the IPL 2020 Health and Safety Protocols, testing on all participants will be conducted regularly throughout the IPL 2020 season," the statement read.
"The BCCI has put in place stringent health and safety protocols for the Dream11 Indian Premier League 2020 Season, which is scheduled to start from September 19 in the UAE. Accordingly, upon landing in the UAE, all the participants have followed a mandatory testing and quarantine programme," the BCCI said.
At a time when big politicians and athletes like Amit Shah, Amitabh Bachchan, Shivraj Singh Chauhan, and Vinesh Phogat have voluntarily announced their COVID-19 positive results, the BCCI has chosen not to share the names of the infected members.
"The other IPL teams in the UAE are also now scared. They are in talks with the BCCI. You can't hide the names. If they [BCCI] won't tell, the Emirate Cricket Board (ECB) might reveal it. For the safety of everybody, it is important to share the names. What is so shameful about it? Why is the BCCI acting so unprofessionally?" sources in the UAE told IANS.
Earlier on Friday, sources said that the 12 members who have tested positive belonged to CSK. "They all are from CSK and the entire team has gone into quarantine. They might resume training from September 11," sources said.
CSK fans got another shocker after all-rounder Suresh Raina pulled out of the lucrative league citing personal reasons, the team CEO KS Viswanathan announced on CSK twitter handle on Saturday morning.
Besides the CSK tweet, the real reason for Raina's return is not immediately known. The left-hander retired from international cricket along with former India captain and his friend, CSK skipper MS Dhoni, on August 15.
Such negative developments have raised a big question mark against the start of the IPL. The mega cricket spectacle, which is generally held in the summer in India, had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. It is now scheduled to be held between September 19 and November 10 in the UAE, but the BCCI has not announced the schedule of the matches.