IPL 2020: CSK members test positive for COVID-19, team goes into extended quarantine

Chennai Super Kings will be extending its quarantine period till early next week after some members of the contingent tested positive for the coronavirus.

CSK players at Chennai airport before boarding the flight to Dubai last week.   -  PTI

A team known for its resilience and the ability to fight back has been rocked even before the first ball has been bowled in the upcoming Indian Premier League.

An India cricketer in the Chennai Super Kings squad and several members of its support staff and social media team have tested positive for COVID-19 in Dubai, where the team is based.

The competition begins in the UAE from September 19.

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It is believed the India cricketer to have tested positive is swing bowler Deepak Chahar who has been a vital part of the CSK attack over the past two years with his control and movement.

Then, a few members of the support staff and the side’s social media team have also failed the COVID test. To prevent the virus from spreading further, the authorities have already commenced ‘contact tracing.’

The team underwent a test upon landing on August 21. After which, it was tested on Days 1, 3, and 6. Everyone came out clean in the first three tests. But the test on Thursday proved a stumbling block for the side.

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Those who failed the test underwent another one on Friday, conducted by the Dubai health authority and the BCCI. The names will be released officially on Saturday.

The positive results means CSK has to undergo one more week of quarantine and it can begin its practise sessions only from September 1.

Only then it will be able to enter the IPL’s `bio-bubble,’ a secure environment where the players will have to wear wrist bands so that their movements can be tracked.

As for the CSK players and support staff who have tested positive now, they will, according to the tournament’s SOP, be isolated from the squad and be quarantined for a couple of weeks after which they will have to clear two COVID tests before becoming eligible to compete.

They still have an opportunity to recover and be available for the first game.

Ahead of its campaign in the UAE, CSK had a five-day training session in Chennai where the side underwent two COVID tests. The players and the support staff came through them without any damage.

Despite reservations from team CEO K.S. Viswanathan about having the camp in Chennai, CSK went ahead after skipper M.S. Dhoni insisted on it since the players were rusty arriving from lengthy lay-offs.

And before coming to Chennai, the CSK cricketers were tested once. Under the circumstances, these results in Dubai come as a shock to this marquee side. But then, with its inspirational skipper Dhoni around to lift the unit, it can bounce back.

Although the tournament will begin in three weeks, the schedule is yet to be released. Ideally, the first game would have been between last-year’s runner-up CSK against winner Mumbai Indians.

Now it remains to be seen if this clash would be the lung-opener.

With inputs from Amol Karhadkar

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