An unforeseen situation forced a rescheduling of Kolkata Knight Riders vs Royal Challengers Bangalore in Ahmedabad on Monday (May 3). Two KKR players - Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier - tested positive for COVID-19 a day prior to the match, and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) made an official announcement about the postponement around 7 hours before the game was supposed to begin.
The Press release read:
"All other team members have tested negative for COVID -19. Both Varun and Sandeep have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad. The Medical Team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health. 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."
Shedding light on the situation, Venky Mysore, KKR's CEO and MD, told host broadcasters Star Sports that the franchise was quick to take all necessary prec auctions and bring the situation under control.
"Difficult times, but I'm happy to report that both Varun and Sandeep are doing well," he said. "We have taken all the precautions that are necessary and have been advised by the medical teams of IPL and KKR and also getting appropriate advice from outside on what the right thing to do is. Sandeep, in particular, is doing fine. No temperature, no other symptoms, and he is feeling good. Varun is still a little under the weather, but better than yesterday and both of them are in good spirits."
The team, including KKR owner Shah Rukh Khan, caught up on a video call to take stock of how everyone was feeling within the camp.
Speaking on the immediate steps in consultation with the officials and other governing bodies involved, Venky Mysore said:
"I think everyone has been very proactive. We found out approximately 24 hours ago about Varun testing positive, so the immediate steps we took was to isolate him, and then later on in the night when we got test results which also involved Sandeep, we put them on a different floor with a different Air Conditioning ducts system to make sure others are appropriately protected. We have asked everybody in the bubble (players, support staff, management, hotel staff and service staff) to quarantine, so they are isolated in their rooms. The food delivery is on a knock and drop basis, which everyone has gotten used to by now.
"The whole idea right now is that it will take perhaps five days, and we are a little fortunate that we have a bit of a break right now because our next game is on the 8th of May (vs Delhi Capitals). So five days of quarantining starting yesterday would take us through the 6th of May, and we had already gotten into a protocol of daily testing. So the way it works is that the testing people are coming in and ensuring that the samples are taken well before people go to sleep, which is probably midnight or earlier. While they are sleeping, you know the next day they process the results, and by the time they wake up, we have the test results, so we know what to do in the event if there is something adverse that comes in. But other than Sandeep and, of course, Varun yesterday, everybody else, including hotel staff, everyone involved in the bubble, have all tested negative. So fingers crossed that will continue that way."
Will KKR's players be eligible to be back in action as soon as the quarantine phase is over? "The target completion date of this five day with this daily testing is the 6th of May," Venky Mysore said. "The team doctor was on the call as well, and his assessment is that if everything's goes well, the plan that we have put in place, we should be able to get the results sometime later in the day on the 6th of May which means that potentially we could even get out that evening for a practice subject to what the coaches want to do and then get ready for 7th and 8th depending on when the rescheduled games would potentially take place."
Official Announcement:— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) May 3, 2021
Today’s match between KKR and RCB has been postponed by the BCCI as per IPL Safety Guidelines after Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier tested positive for COVID.
We wish Varun and Sandeep a speedy recovery. 🙌🏻🙏🏻#PlayBold #IPL2021 #KKRvRCB pic.twitter.com/yctoffeW3C
To end, Venky Mysore had a message for the fans of KKR, who have stood by the team through thick and thin.
"A huge thank you for the support. I think the way we are in the points table and the wins and losses certainly belies the potential of this team. But you know, you always look for positives, and there were a couple of games that should have gone our way but which didn't. But if you reflect back to our last championship (in 2014). I don't know if it is a coincidence or it is a good omen or what. Exactly after seven games, we had the same record (two wins and five losses) and we went on to win the championship.
"So there is plenty of cricket to be played, but I think the most important thing right now is the health and safety of all the concerned. I think if we get past this challenge that has come our way, we will do everything; that's how we are prioritising it. First and foremost, if we are able to get past this, I think everybody will take the positives and reflect back on what we have done in the past and hopefully, you know, this would be an interesting inflection point in our campaign. So looking forward to that, but big thanks to all our supporters standing by us, and we are really privileged to have that kind of support."
Kolkata Knight Riders are next scheduled to take on Delhi Capitals on 8 April in Ahmedabad.