BCCI president Ganguly assures Ranji Trophy will go ahead despite Covid scare

After cancelling the tournament last year due to the pandemic, the BCCI has decided to host the tournament this time around across five venues from January 13.

BCCI president and former India captain, Sourav Ganguly.   -  PTI

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is leaving no stone unturned to host the Ranji Trophy despite the country witnessing a surge in the COVID-19 cases.

Talking to Sportstar from Kolkata on Monday evening, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirmed that "the tournament will go ahead".

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"It is on as per schedule," Ganguly said. Last week, Ganguly had to be hospitalised after contracting the virus, but with doctors opting for Monoclonal Antibody Cocktail therapy, the former India captain is now back home and is "recovering fine".

After cancelling the tournament last year due to the pandemic, the BCCI has decided to host the tournament this time around across five venues from January 13.

The tournament will be continuing for a couple of months and now with the Omicron variant forcing a spike in COVID cases, there were apprehensions that the Board might have to postpone the tournament for a while.

But the BCCI top brass made it clear that with a stricter bio-bubble, there "should not be a problem" in hosting the tournament. The group stage fixtures will be held in Kolkata, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, while the knockout stage fixtures will be played in Kolkata.

"We are leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that all the players and other stakeholders are safe. The bio-bubbles will be stricter to ensure that there are no major issues," a state association official, who is overseeing the preparation, told this publication.

On Sunday, seven members of Bengal squad tested positive, while a player and support staff from Mumbai too contracted the virus and are currently in isolation.

On Monday, Cricket Association of Bengal president Avishek Dalmiya too tested positive for the virus.But even then, the Mumbai team has reached Kolkata and will train on Tuesday and is expected to play a side game against Bengal on January 6-7.

"We are following all the protocols. As of now, things are looking okay and if we can maintain the protocols, everything should go smoothly," a state unit official said.

The teams will reach their respective centres in a couple of days and will enter the bubble by January 8.

Most state units are doing regular tests for their players and support staff before their departure for the tournament

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