There was bad news for the BCCI and Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fans on Friday as reports trickled in that at least one player and close to a dozen team staff members, including an official of the team franchise, had tested positive for novel coronavirus disease in Dubai.
The identity of the player has not been revealed but there were indications that he is an Indian pacer. Following this the entire team’s quarantine period has been extended till September 1.
While the CSK franchise did not issue any statement on the issue, a source quoting an official associated with the team confirmed the development. “All members of the team, including players and staff, who had reached Dubai on August 21, had undergone the mandatory six-day quarantine. Test results that came out during the day showed one player as positive and about a dozen staff members as having contracted the infection,” he said. Whether the player was down with mild symptoms or complications was not revealed.
The source said that as per mandate, the players and support staff were subjected to COVID-19 tests at the Dubai airport, which was followed by three more tests during the first, third and sixth day of the quarantine period.
Those who have tested positive for the pandemic would be subjected to a further mandatory 14-day quarantine and thereafter for two RT-PCR tests within 24 hours.
The IPL is set to begin on September 19 and the team is yet to begin its training.
It is likely that Health authorities in Chennai would be asked to trace the contacts of the CSK team to ascertain if they had possibly acquired the infection in the city before flying out to the Emirates. "We will proceed on this only after receiving information from the Cricket board," a Health official said in Chennai.
For the diehard CSK fans the news came in as a huge disappointment. “Already we were upset over the sudden announcement of retirement from international cricket by Dhoni, who is our very own Chennai Super Kings’ popular face. Though he will be playing for IPL and leading the CSK, my friends and I were disappointed that he won’t be playing one-dayers. And now we have these reports about a player testing COVID-19 positive,” said Deepti Narayan, a college student and CSK fan to the core.