AHMEDABAD, India — An Indian Premier League match between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore was postponed May 3 after two players tested positive for the coronavirus amid a catastrophic surge of cases in the country.
Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier, who both play for Kolkata, are self-isolating after becoming the first players to test positive for COVID-19 inside the IPL bubble since the 2021 season started on April 9.
The IPL has held matches without spectators every evening despite India’s already fragile and underfunded health system being pushed to the brink by the country’s latest major wave of the pandemic. There were a total of 368,147 new coronavirus cases on Monday, and 3,417 deaths.
The rest of the Kolkata squad have tested negative for the coronavirus. The IPL said its medical team is attempting to trace any close contacts of Chakravarthy and Warrier.
“The medical team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health,” the IPL said in a statement. “Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest.
Kolkata’s game against Bangalore will be rescheduled. The team captained by England ODI skipper Eoin Morgan is due to play its next match against Delhi Capitals in Ahmedabad May 8 .
India has confirmed 19.9 million COVID-19 cases since the start of the pandemic, behind only the United States, which has counted more than 32.4 million. More than 218,000 people in India have died, according to the health ministry. Both figures are thought to be vast undercounts.
Australian players Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa and Kane Richardson recently flew home from the IPL amid the vast surge of cases in India.
Richardson and Zampa were playing for Bangalore while Tye was with the Rajasthan Royals.
Tye returned home to avoid risking being unable to get into Australia if the borders were closed.
Two other cricketers — Englishman Liam Livingstone, who was with Rajasthan, and Ravichandran Ashwin, who was with Delhi — have also left the IPL. Livingstone cited “bubble fatigue” and Ashwin wanted to be with his family.
IPL is going ahead on the basis that teams stay in bio-secure areas at the hotels and resorts in the six venues in India where the competition is taking place.