The COVID-19 pandemic continues to firm its grip around Mumbai and the forthcoming IPL 2021 starting April 9. A 14-member broadcast crew at Star Sports, along with two more ground staff and one plumber at the Wankhede Stadium tested positive for the virus on Monday (April 5).
It is learnt that the crew members of the IPL 2021 broadcast team were staying at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai and those who returned COVID-19 positive reports include directors, EVS operators, producers, cameramen and video editors.
The situation at the Wankhede Stadium, on the other hand, goes from bad to worse as the recent development came to light days after 10 ground staff at the same venue tested positive for the highly contagious virus. The Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) has now decided to lodge all of them inside the stadium until the end of the Mumbai leg of matches.
“Two more groundstaff members and one plumber returned with positive COVID-19 results on Monday. Earlier, 10 ground staff members had tested positive for COVID at the Wankhede...There is a club house inside the Wankhede Stadium, all the groundstaff will stay there till the Mumbai leg is over in order to conduct the IPL smoothly,” an MCA source told ANI on Tuesday.
Among the players, KKR batsman Nitish Rana, RCB opener Devdutt Padikkal and DC all-rounder Axar Patel contracted the virus. While Rana has tested negative and has already joined the team bubble, the other two are still on the road to recovery.
Cloud of uncertainty over Mumbai hosting IPL 2021 matches
With a rapid surge of COVID-19 cases in Mumbai, Star doesn’t seem okay with the Indian cricket board (BCCI) going ahead with its original schedule of hosting IPL 2021 matches in Mumbai. A BCCI official privy to the developments reasoned Star is worried about its team working closely with the ground staff at the Wankhede Stadium.
“Star is concerned about their broadcast crew. If the ground staff and event management teams are getting COVID-19 infected, the same can happen to Star’s crew. They have to closely mingle around with both ground staff as well as the event team. That is the reason Star is very concerned about the situation,” the source told Insidesport.
Playing host to four teams – CSK, DC, RR and PBKS – Mumbai is slated to conduct the first set of IPL 2021 matches from April 10 to April 25.
Get the full list of all 2021 IPL venue here.
While Hyderabad Cricket Association (HCA) president Mohammad Azharuddin has offered the facilities of the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Uppal to IPL 2021, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly confirmed all matches will go ahead as per schedule.