CHENNAI/NEW DELHI: Chennai Super Kings player Deepak Chahar, who has tested positive for Covid-19, can return to training only after a 14-day quarantine period, following which he will have to test negative twice, 24 hours apart, before being permitted to re-enter the bio-secure zone.
The Indian cricket board (BCCI) insisted there was no immediate threat to the IPL, which is scheduled to start from September 19.
“Adequate measures are in place to tackle the situation and there is no immediate threat to the tournament. But the announcement of fixtures has been delayed because of this development,” a top BCCI source told TOI.
CSK were the only team that underwent a camp in India prior to departure for Dubai. It is understood that the BCCI had expressed its concerns about the camp, with some officials even getting in touch with the CSK management and asking them to cancel it.
“Senior BCCI officials had cautioned the CSK management about the risks of holding such a camp in India,” a BCCI source said.
However, these concerns were not heeded. The CSK management was of the view that the team should get a good hit in the park before leaving for the UAE since their initial plan of reaching Dubai by August 12 had already been denied.
CSK sources still insist that “all it needs is one asymptomatic carrier and this (situation) could have happened to any team”. They feel that everyone had tested negative in India and exposure to each other during flights or at the two airports in Chennai and Dubai could also have led to members of the contingent contracting the virus.
“There are many players who were coming from a long lay-off. The likes of MS Dhoni, Deepak Chahar, Ambati Rayudu and Suresh Raina had played very little cricket even before the lockdown in March. That’s why CSK insisted on having the camp, to have a few extra days under their belt,” a source said.
The positive tests, however, have left the CSK camp in disarray. The team has a host of over-30 players and most of them have been out of international cricket for a while now.
“It is difficult but the entire team is on the same page. We know we are in a position to absorb this delay and take it in our stride,” a CSK source said.
It is understood that as of now, CSK will not ask BCCI to postpone its matches, provided no one else tests positive in the subsequent tests. As per convention, the previous year’s finalists — Mumbai Indians and CSK in this case — play the first match. The Chennai franchise believes it will be fit to take the field by then.
“As far as we know, we are playing on September 19 and that’s how we are preparing mentally,” the source added.
The team is also unable to use the gymnasium, and players are trying to do whatever they can inside their rooms. The support staff, too, is staying in touch with players on Zoom calls. “The camp in Chennai helped the players regain some fitness. Now we are only hoping that no one else tests positive in the next few tests,” the source added.
(Inputs by Shilarze Saha Roy)


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