Monday’s Indian Premier League match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore has been postponed after two positive Covid-19 tests.
The Knight Riders pair Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive with the IPL’s bio-secure bubble breached for the first time since the season started on April 9.
It comes as the virus takes an ever-greater grip on India with 3,689 deaths reported on Sunday and 392,488 new cases to take the total number to 19.56 million.
Kolkata Knight Riders bowler Varun Chakravarthy is one of two of their player to have tested positive for Covid-19 – forcing the postponement of Monday’s match
The positive tests for Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier forced the postponement of KKR’s match with Royal Challengers Bangalore on Monday
There was criticism from fans on social media about how the bio-secure bubble was breached
The number of coronavirus cases in India has risen exponentially in recent weeks to almost 400,000 new cases per day as of Sunday and almost 20m confirmed cases overall
The death toll in India has risen sharply since February, with the country’s morgues and crematoriums struggling to cope
So far, the virus has killed 215,542 people in the country although experts believe the actual numbers of both cases and deaths are likely to be considerably higher.
Yet despite the immense strain on the country’s health service and risk of infection, the IPL has continued in recent weeks.
It is believed Indian spinner Chakravarthy recently left the IPL bio-bubble to have a scan on a shoulder problem and that may be where he was exposed to the virus.
It was also reported that Indian bowler Warrier also left the bubble for injury scans.
The remainder of the Knight Riders squad, which includes England white ball captain Eoin Morgan, tested negative for Covid and are in isolation.
Authorities reported 392,488 new cases on Sunday – a marginal dip from a high of 401,993 in the previous 24 hours – to push total cases to 19.56 million. Pictured: A crematorium in New Delhi
So far, the virus has killed 215,542 people, although experts believe the actual numbers of both cases and deaths are likely considerably higher. Pictured: A crematorium in New Delhi
A statement issued by the IPL read: ‘Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days. All other team members have tested negative for COVID-19.
‘Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The Medical Team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health.
‘Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest.
‘The Medical Team is also determining the close and casual contacts of the two positive cases during the 48 hours prior to collection of the sample that returned the positive test results.
‘The BCCI and the Kolkata Knight Riders prioritise the health and safety of everyone involved and all measures are being taken in that endeavour.’
India’s coronavirus crisis has hit a grim new record, with 3,689 deaths recorded on Sunday – the highest 24-hour rise since the pandemic began. Pictured: A crematorium in New Delhi
Hospitals, morgues and crematoriums have been overwhelmed as the country has reported more than 300,000 daily cases for more than 10 days straight. Pictured: Patients receive oxygen provided by a Sikh temple in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh
There has been fury in India at the decision to continue with the IPL season despite the mounting crisis in the country, where oxygen supplies in hospitals have run out and health infrastructure is on the brink of collapse.
In one hospital in the capital Delhi, 12 patients, including a doctor, died after oxygen supplies ran out on Saturday. Outside, some families are queuing for up to 12 hours to receive medical attention.
Some IPL matches are taking place at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in central Delhi, which is directly opposite the city’s largest Covid hospital – LNJP.
Monday’s match between the Knight Riders and Royal Challengers was set to be played at the 132,000-capacity Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. Spectators have not been permitted at IPL matches this season.
The news will only increase pressure to suspend the season, which was due to reach its half-way point with this fixture being game 30 of 60.
IPL cricket is being played at a stadium directly opposite Delhi’s main Covid hospital, the LNJP, which is struggling to cope
Covid patients sharing a bed at the hospital opposite the cricket ground are given oxygen as they fight for their lives
While people are dying on the roadside, millionaire cricketers are still playing in the IPL every day throughout April and May
Other fans have questioned the decision to carry on with IPL in the face of the Covid crisis, asking ‘Does this make any sense?’
Another cricket fan asked if India was ‘out of its mind’ as they continue with the season despite the off-field chaos in India
Hospitals, morgues and crematoriums have been overwhelmed as the country has reported more than 300,000 daily cases for more than 10 days straight. Pictured: Bodies of victims who died of Covid-19 are carried on stretchers before being cremated in New Delhi on May 2
Pictured: A health worker wearing PPE attends to patients inside a centre of the Commonwealth Games village temporarily converted into a Covid care facility in New Delhi on May 2
It came as the Australian contingent playing in the tournament were threatened with imprisonment if they attempt to return home in the next fortnight.
Stars such as David Warner, Pat Cummins and Glenn Maxwell – all on £1.25million-plus IPL deals – are among more than 30 Australians playing in the lucrative Twenty20 tournament who can’t return home under Government legislation.
The Australian Government passed an emergency bill on Saturday that shuts its borders to its own citizens if they have been in India in the preceding 14 days.
Those attempting to return to Australia face £37,000 fines and/or a five-year prison sentence.
David Warner is among more than 30 Australians playing in this year’s lucrative IPL
A number of top players, including Adam Zampa (left) and Kane Richardson (right) have quit the Indian Premier League
It commits Warner, Cummins – who plays for the Knight Riders – and others to stay in India until at least May 15, when the travel ban will be reconsidered. The IPL final is scheduled for May 30.
Aussie trio Adam Zampa, Andrew Tye and Kane Richardson fled India last week to get home before the travel ban came into effect.