Axar Patel recovers from COVID-19, joins Delhi Capitals squad

Axar Patel returned to the Delhi Capitals after having spent nearly three weeks in isolation.

Delhi Capitals all-rounder, Axar Patel. - BCCI/IPL

Delhi Capitals and India all-rounder Axar Patel has rejoined his Indian Premier League side after staying in a medical care facility in Mumbai for nearly three weeks following a positive test result for COVID-19.

The 27-year-old had initially checked into the Capitals' team hotel on March 28 in Mumbai.

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While he had entered the bubble with a negative test report, he had returned positive for the coronavirus on April 3 and was transferred to BCCI's designated medical facility after it was learnt he showed mild symptoms.

"Smiles and hugs all around as Bapu returned to the DC camp," the Delhi Capitals tweeted a video of the 27-year-old meeting his team-mates.

"Aadmi dekh ke hi toh mujhe maza aa raha hai (I'm getting sheer joy just by seeing people)," Patel said in the video.

 

Axar said getting to meet his team-mates after a 20-day period of isolation comes a close second to his Test debut as the "best moment" of his life.

"It has been really great to come out of quarantine after 20 days and meet my team-mates. This is the best moment in my life after my Test debut," Axar was quoted as saying in a communique.

The left-arm spinner said watching his IPL side win most of its matches kept him motivated.

"I was alone in my room for 20 days and I didn't have anything to do. I was watching the matches and one good thing was that our team won most of the matches, so I got even more motivated to re-join the side," he added.

Axar attended his first training session with the team on Wednesday and the all-rounder said he is not pushing himself too hard at the moment.

"I have started batting and bowling practice, but I haven't pushed too hard during training. I have spoken to the doctors about how I should go about my training, and I am carrying out my practice according to their suggestions."

When asked about the directions given to him by skipper Rishabh Pant and head coach Ricky Ponting, Axar said, "Rishabh and Ricky sir have told me to train keeping in mind about how my body is reacting to practice drills in the next two-three days. We are not thinking ahead too much at the moment, we are just focusing on how my body is reacting to training sessions."

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Axar was the second IPL player to get infected by the virus after Royal Challengers Bangalore opener Devdutt Padikkal.

There have also been a couple of incidents of false positives in the tournament.

Axar's DC team-mate, South African pacer Anrich Nortje, had to spend extended time in quarantine due to a false positive result for COVID-19. Nitish Rana had also tested positive after joining the Kolkata Knight Riders camp but his next RT-PCR result turned out to be negative.

In Axar's absence, the Capitals had roped in young Mumbai left-arm spinner Shams Mulani as IPL's first short-term COVID-19 replacement.

The Capitals are slated to take on Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Sunday.

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