No plans to move IPL 2021 out of Mumbai despite COVID-19 cases

IPL 2021: At least 18 individuals who were to be involved in the Mumbai leg have been confirmed as having contracted COVID-19.

File picture of Wankhede Stadium.   -  Vivek Bendre

At least 18 individuals who were to be involved in the Indian Premier League’s Mumbai leg, including Delhi Capitals’ all-rounder Axar Patel, have been confirmed as having contracted COVID-19.

However, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is not worried about the fate of the Mumbai leg, scheduled from April 10 to 25. The main reason, according to a BCCI official, is that all cases are being detected before they enter the biosecure bubble.

READ: Axar Patel tests positive for Covid-19 ahead of IPL 2021

Eliminating doubt

“The objective of extensive pre-tournament testing is to eliminate all doubts before they enter the bubble. There is need for concern only if an infection is detected within the bubble,” the official told Sportstar on Saturday.

At least 10 groundstaff at the Wankhede Stadium — which is to host 10 games — six members of the IPL’s operations/event management team, Axar and a member of Chennai Super Kings’ content management team have tested COVID-19 positive.

According to the IPL’s Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), the groundstaff and BCCI operations personnel are not supposed to enter the bubble.

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READ: CSK contingent member tests positive for Covid-19 ahead of IPL 2021

According to the CSK team management, its crew member has not been in the bubble but is being regularly tested, while Delhi Capitals confirmed Axar’s infection was detected during his second COVID-19 test.

As a result, despite murmurs about possible back-ups, the BCCI is not considering moving IPL matches out of Mumbai, which has re-emerged as a major COVID-19 hub along with the rest of the State of Maharashtra.

Every player and support staff member, besides match officials and broadcast crew has to clear three tests during a mandatory seven-day isolation before entering the bubble.

And those on the periphery, like groundstaff, are to be tested every third day since a day before teams start training at the venue.

READ: Eight groundsmen at Wankhede Stadium test positive for COVID-19

Bubble sanctity

The BCCI is confident the sanctity of the bubble shall be maintained and the tournament will be conducted without health concerns to everyone involved.

Even in 2020, almost two dozen individuals from various teams had tested positive upon arrival in the United Arab Emirates, but the event was staged successfully.