After Manchester Test pull out, will players skip IPL now?: Former India cricketer

Just four days into the resumption of IPL-14, Covid-19, the very reason why the T20 league was first suspended in May, has struck once again.

Despite the BCCI moving the caravan to the UAE after lapses were reported in bio-secure bubble when the league was conducted in India, the virus has still managed to breach this time as well.

A couple of weeks ago, Team India had refused to play the fifth and final Test against England at Manchester after junior physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar tested positive for Covid-19.

During the fourth Test at The Oval, India’s coaching and support staff—Bharat Arun (bowling coach), R Sridhar (fielding coach) and Nitin Patel (physiotherapist) were isolated from the team after head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for the virus.

There seems to be no such indication as yet of a pull-out of the Indian players after Sunrisers Hyderabad pacer T Natarajan tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. 

A former India cricketer remarked: “Now, the virus has breached the IPL bubble. Will the Indian players refuse to play the IPL? It is a matter of safety again, right? If safety was the main concern for the players to refuse to play the Manchester Test, then the same logic must apply here as well.”

Following the completion of IPL on October 15 at Dubai, the Indian players will enter another bio-bubble for the T20 World Cup, starting from October 17 in the UAE and Oman.

Natarajan’s case has once again raised question marks whether the bio bubbles are fully secured. As per the protocol, Natarajan was swiftly isolated from the rest of the team. “He is currently asymptomatic,” stated the BCCI in its press release.

While the rest of the SRH contingent returned negative after a test was conducted early in the morning on Wednesday, paving the way for their match to go ahead against Delhi Capitals as per schedule, six members identified by the BCCI medical team as “close contacts” of the player were placed in isolation. They are: Vijay Shankar, Vijay Kumar (team manager), Shyam Sundar J (physiotherapist), Anjana Vannan (doctor), Tushar Khedkar (logistics manager) and Periyasamy Ganesan (net bowler).

Sources close to Natarajan were shocked after the India pacer tested positive for Covid-19.

“He has been fully vaccinated. He underwent mandatory quarantine and was rearing to go in the IPL as he is returning from knee surgery. He is feeling fine, but is very disappointed as he will be in quarantine for at least 10 days. Vijay Shankar is fine too,” the source told mid-day.

Natarajan, who was not part of the squad touring England, had travelled on a commercial flight to Dubai since he did not leave with the team. 

Former IPL governing council member Surinder Khanna was concerned with the virus breaching the IPL team bubble.

“It is a matter of concern. I am sure the BCCI will investigate it so that the virus doesn’t spread to others. All protocols must be followed to the T,” said the ex-India wicketkeeper.

Also Read: IPL 2021: Delhi Capitals rise, shine over Hyderabad

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