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IPL 2021: 10 Groundsmen at Wankhede, 6 Event Managers Test Positive for Covid-19



The IPL 2021 preparations have hit a new roadblock at the Wankhede Stadium as eight of the 19 groundsmen have tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, according to a report in Hindustan Times. The IPL is set to begin on April 9 in Chennai, and the Mumbai leg is supposed to start from April 10 to 25, with the first match between CSK and DC. A total of 10 matches are supposed to be played at the venue.

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 stand by 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.

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With in 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 groundstaff 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.

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“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 stand by 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 ad 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.

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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.

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first published:April 03, 2021, 08:35 IST