As many as 8 groundsmen working at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai have recently tested positive for Covid-19 during the tests conducted ahead of IPL 2021.
As reported by The Hindu, all the 19 groundsmen working at the Wankhede Stadium went through RT-PCR tests [Covid tests] over the previous week. Three of them tested positive on March 26, while 5 more test conducted on April 1 returned positive results.
The development comes just a week before the commencement of the Indian Premier League. IPL 2021 is set to begin with a clash between defending champions, Mumbai Indians and the Royal Challengers Bangalore in Chennai on April 9.
Notably, the Wankhede Stadium is scheduled to host 10 league-stage games between April 10 and April 25. The spread of Covid-19 cases among the groundsmen, could mean trouble for the IPL organizers if things are not controlled soon.
Groundsmen from the Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana and Sharad Pawar Academy could be brought in as replacements for Wankhede groundstaff members who have contracted the virus.
The situation around the country is becoming a growing concern. India had seemingly gotten over the first wave of the virus. However, as March progressed, a second wave began to crest.
The recently concluded cricketing series in India, played against England, was done within a bio bubble and most players in the Indian team did not go back home by opting to move from the national team bubble to the one set up by their franchise.
Those like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar who did take a break to go home will have to quarantine for a week before joining their respective teams.
BCCI may be forced to move IPL out of Mumbai
It remains to be seen if the BCCI will be compelled to move the IPL games scheduled in Mumbai to another stadium owing to the rising Covid-19 cases in the state of Maharashtra.
Notably, the state of Maharashtra is responsible for the majority of the positive covid-19 cases across India. As per theHon'blee chief minister of Maharashtra, the state may be forced to bring back a strict lockdown if matters don't get better soon.
However, as things stand, the Wankhedes Stadium in Mumbai is scheduled to host 10 IPL games between April 10 and 25.
With vaccinations against Covid-19 underway, IPL matches might become a thing of lesser concern towards the flag end of the tournament.