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Two cricketers test positive as Covid-19 pierces IPL ‘air bubble’

Two cricketers test positive as Covid-19 pierces IPL ‘air bubble’

In a major setback for the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament, two players tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday.

A match between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders was postponed hours before its scheduled start in Ahmedabad after two Kolkata players tested positive.

"Varun Chakaravarthy and Sandeep Warrier were found to be positive in the third round of testing in the last four days," the league said in a statement, "All other team members have tested negative for COVID-19."

Spinner Chakaravarthy had left the bio-bubble for a shoulder scan after which the positive cases were reported.

"Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest," the IPL statement  said. KKR's medical team was also tracing close contacts of the players, it added.

Three non-playing members of the Chennai Super Kings were also reported to have tested positive on Sunday, but Chennai officials have not made any statement on the issue.

A member of the IPL’s governing council said there was no threat of the tournament being called off. "We're investigating how the infection happened but we have full confidence in the bio-bubble arrangements. It's totally secure," he said.

BCCI has taken social media criticism for staging the tournament amid the Covid crisis in its stride, saying the matches were providing solace and entertainment to people and helping to keep them indoors.

The hashtag #CancelIPL trended on Twitter in India after news of the players testing positive for Covid-19 broke.

The IPL is the richest cricket tournament in the world, attracting the best  players from Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, England and South Africa. South Africa's Chris Morris is the most expensive player in the IPL this season and is being paid over $2 million by the Rajasthan Royals.