Ricky Ponting thought the IPL bio-bubble made him “one of the safest people in the country” even as Adam Zampa said he felt “vulnerable” in the bubble in India. The bubble burst on Monday, when the first reports of IPL players testing positive came in. As more positive reports started coming in from different IPL teams, the writing for IPL 2021 was on the wall.
BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told Indian Express, “The positive cases happened in supposedly the safest place. The players felt it was the safest place in India but nobody can make predictions about this virus.”
On how the virus could have breached the bubble around the world’s biggest T20 league, he said: “The BCCI was worried and we were trying to find out how it happened. The first case we got to know was of Varun Chakravarthy. He was supposed to go for a scan. We felt he might have got infected. Then a second case came in. Now rather than finding out how it happened, all felt that first we should make everyone safe and secure.”
“Varun Chakravarthy might have got himself exposed during the scan, but we don’t want to pinpoint without verifying the details,” a BCCI official had told Indian Express on Monday.
BCCI’s Standard Operating Procedure says a ‘bubble window’ has to be created for such hospital visits. Under the IPL’s ‘green channel’ protocol, a player being taken for scans outside the bubble is taken in a vehicle, which is in the bubble with the driver, in PPE kit to the hospital. Attending medical staff will wear PPE kits and masks. It remains unclear whether this protocol was not followed in Chakravarthy’s case.
Following the positive reports of KKR’s Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, L Balaji and Kasi Viswanathan, top executive and bowling coach, respectively of CSK, wicketkeeper Wriddiman Saha of SRH, spinner Amit Mishra of DC and CSK batting coach Michael Hussey also tested positive.
Newslaundry reported that the IPL bubble had been breached at the Roshanara Club in New Delhi, where club staff and club officials’ relatives were seen trying to click selfies with star Indian players while they were going to use washrooms.
“A senior DDCA official recently booked a local club ground for visiting IPL teams to practise, despite, it’s reliably learnt, fellow administrators cautioning this breached bio-bubble protocols. MI, RR, CSK and SRH were driven to the Roshanara Club for practice sessions… The club’s staff and relatives of its officials were allowed to watch the practice sessions. A few individuals tried clicking selfies with star Indian players while they were going to use washrooms,” the report said.
NDTV reported that the ‘tracking device’ worn by players were at times faulty. They were purchased from a Chennai-based company that failed to live up to the standards, the report said. The report also mentioned that food delivery from outside had been allowed inside the IPL bubble till the last week.
In another instance of the bubble having been breached, two people were arrested for entering the Arun Jaitley Stadium in central Delhi illegally on fake accreditation cards during Saturday’s IPL match between Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad, police told PTI on Wednesday.
The accused could not give satisfactory replies when asked about their presence at a gallery of a VIP lounge, following which they were apprehended, the police said.
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