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IPL 2021: Axar Patel, Devdutt Padikkal in headlines as COVID-19 threat looms large

Apart from the multiple ground staff at Mumbai's Wankhede Stadium, several IPL 2021 players like Axar Patel and Devdutt Padikkal have been afflicted by COVID-19 too.

Ahead of the start of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 with a clash between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai on Friday, the cash-rich league has found itself in a spot because of multiple positive COVID-19 tests in different franchises’ camps.

Apart from the ground staff and event managers at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, several players like Axar Patel and Devdutt Padikkal have been afflicted too.

Nitish Rana (Kolkata Knight Riders)

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) batsman Nitish Rana had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 22 after joining the squad in the team hotel in Mumbai the previous day. As per IPL protocol, he was tested for the virus last month, during his quarantine and the report showed that he was asymptomatic. On April 1, the 27-year-old lefthander tested negative and KKR confirmed that “he would be fully fit well before the start of the season.”

Devdutt Padikkal (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) opener Devdutt Padikkal tested positive for COVID-19 on March 22 and according to a franchise statement on April 7, he came out negative in the latest round of testing. After quarantining himself for around two weeks at his home in Bengaluru, the 20-year-old rejoined the team on Wednesday. “The RCB medical team was in constant touch with Devdutt to ensure his safety and well-being,” the franchise stated in a release.

Axar Patel (Delhi Capitals)

Delhi Capitals (DC) all-rounder Axar Patel tested positive for COVID-19 on April 3, six days before the start of the new edition of the tournament. Confirming the news, Delhi Capitals said in a statement, “He had checked into the team hotel in Mumbai on March 28, 2021, with a negative report. His report from the second COVID test came positive.” The left-arm spinner is currently in isolation at a “designated medical care facility” and as per the BCCI’s protocols, he will only be allowed to rejoin his teammates after he tests negative for the infection.

Daniel Sams (Royal Challengers Bangalore)

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) bowling all-rounder Daniel Sams, who made his IPL debut last season for Delhi Capitals, tested positive for COVID-19 on April 7. “Daniel Sams checked into the team hotel in Chennai on April 3 with a negative COVID report on arrival. His report from the second test on April 7 came positive,” RCB said in a statement. The franchise also said that it will continue to monitor Sams’ health during his isolation as per BCCI’s protocols.

Earlier on April 6, Mumbai Indians’ wicket-keeping consultant and talent scout Kiran More had also tested positive for the virus, but all other members of the defending champions’ squad returned negative reports.

Because of the recent COVID-19 spike in India, the BCCI has decided to test everyone in the IPL bio-bubble on a daily basis instead of every third day, as was the case last year. There is now a separate bio-bubble for ground staff and curators.

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