10 Wankhede Ground Staff, 6 Event Managers Test COVID +Ve, Hyderabad And Indore Among Standby Venues: Report
IPL 2021: With IPL 2021 set to begin on April 9, preparations have reportedly been hit with positive COVID-19 cases at the Wankhede Stadium in Maharashtra.
10 members of the Wankhede Stadium have tested positive
There are four IPL teams in Mumbai currently with access to Wankhede
IPL 2021 begins from April 9
The BCCI remains hopeful of conducting the scheduled IPL matches in Mumbai from April 10-25 despite a massive surge in COVID-19 cases in the city and 10 members of the Wankhede Stadium staff testing positive for the deadly virus. Indore and Hyderabad have been kept as standby venues for the IPL in case the COVID situation spirals out of control. Mumbai is scheduled to host 10 games of the cash-rich league. With an excess of 47,000 cases on Friday, Maharashtra is looking at a potential situation of mini-lockdown.
Of equal concern to the organisers is the number of ground staff at the Wankhede going up from 8 to 10 between Friday evening and Saturday morning. If that wasn't enough, around six members of the event management team have also tested positive for COVID-19 and have been sent to isolation.
"Yes, it was 8 positive cases yesterday as far as ground-staff are concerned. Today two more positive cases have emerged and all 10 have been sent back home and are isolated.
"We are bringing fresh ground-staff from the Mumbai CA ground in Kandivali for preparations. Also 6 to 7 event management staff hired by BCCI have also tested positive," a senior Mumbai CA official told PTI.
When a senior BCCI office-bearer was asked about the situation, he admitted that BCCI is indeed concerned.
"Look, even if there is a lockdown, the teams are in bio-bubble and also it's a closed-door event. So we are still confident that IPL games in Mumbai will be held as per schedule with Delhi Capitals playing Chennai Super Kings on April 10 on the second day of the tournament.
"But Hyderabad and Indore are there on standby in case the situation goes out of hand," the office bearer told PTI on Saturday.
As of now, none of the teams currently in Mumbai -- Delhi Capitals, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings -- have access to Wankhede.
"Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings for example are taking turns to train at the Brabourne Stadium and Bandra Kurla Complex (BKC) ground. KKR is training in Navi Mumbai at the DY Patil before they leave for Chennai," the official informed.
It is expected that BCCI's medical unit will enhance the testing rate due to the surge of cases in the state. The event management and operations of IPL till last year, was handled by the IMG but from this year, the board is handling the event on its own.
"We have enough back-up staff to handle as we had factored in that the situation in Mumbai is grim at the moment. But yes, we are closely monitoring the situation," the official added.