With little than a week before the commencement of the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021), matches at the Wankhede Stadium have been hampered after eight of the stadium’s groundsmen tested positive for Covid-19.
According to the sources, all 19 groundsmen at Wankhede Stadium had RT-PCR samples done the previous week. Three of them tested positive on March 26, and five more tests on April 1 yielded positive results.
The IPL is scheduled to begin on April 9 in Chennai, with the Mumbai phase of the matches taking place between April 10 and April 25, with the first match between the Chennai Super Kings and the Delhi Capitals taking place at the venue. The Wankhede will host a total of ten matches.
Notably, six bio-bubbles are being built for the IPL 2021, with Mumbai being one of them. The groundsmen testing positive, considering the fact that the tournament is meant to be played behind closed doors, is yet another indication of the COVID-19 wave in Maharashtra.
As of now, four franchises have built a base in Mumbai: the Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Punjab Kings, and Rajasthan Royals.
Meanwhile, groundsmen from the Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana and the Sharad Pawar Academy could be brought in to replace Wankhede groundstaff members infected with the virus.
An official from one of the franchises, who is currently based in Mumbai, told that it does change the situation and calls for tighter procedures.
“When you learn those stuff days before the tournament, you get a little worried. We’ve all been following procedures to the letter, but when that news comes in, it makes us all a little anxious. We try to keep it as close as possible. We must stay cautious “said the official.
It would be important to see if the BCCI is compelled to reconsider its decision to keep Mumbai as the IPL venue because Covid-19 cases in the state of Maharashtra are on the rise, and it is worth noting that Maharashtra is responsible for the majority of positive COVID-19 cases in India.
Maharashtra, which has been worst hit by COVID-19 so far, recorded 47,827 new cases and 202 deaths on Friday (April 3), the most since the pandemic spread to India in March 2020. Several cities have also implemented special rules, such as a night curfew.