NEWS DESK,8 April (Sky News Bureau)
The new Indian Premier League (IPL) season begins on Friday, but the rising number of Covid-19 cases among players, franchise staff, service providers, and others involved with the tournament is causing the BCCI a lot of headaches.
Teams, support personnel, and a slew of other stakeholders are encased in bio-bubbles before the end of the competition, and there will be no spectators at the match, but the virus is already proving to be a formidable foe even before a ball is bowled.
It has forced the BCCI top brass to go back to the drawing board for fresh ideas to deal with the problem.
The new measures include requesting for separate IPL check-in counters at airports, daily Covid tests and the appointment of a bio-bubble integrity officer.
After Mumbai Indians talent scout and former India wicketkeeper Kiran More and Royal Challengers Bangalore’s Australian recruit Daniel Sams tested positive, the number of people associated with the IPL who are confirmed to have been infected is now 36.
The BCCI managed to pull off an impressive logistical and organisational feat by holding an almost-incident-free IPL in the UAE in September-November last year.
The upcoming edition has five venues – Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Chennai – and the much greater distances make air travel imperative.
Airports thus become a place players and others associated with the IPL will have to frequent, and where they face the risk of exposure to the virus.
The IPL service providers have tested positive.The groundsmen too have been put in a separate bio-bubble.
BCCI also claims to have a Bluetooth tracking device for each team as the board has tied up with Gem3s Technology Private Limited this season.
According to the procedure, any player or support staff who comes into direct contact with a Covid-19 infected individual must spend seven days in quarantine, but if players have only had minor contact with the positive case, they will return to training after two negative checks.