7 members of Bengal Ranji Trophy team test positive for COVID-19 

Bengal have been hit with a bout of COVID-19 just 10 days before the season opener
Bengal have been hit with a bout of COVID-19 just 10 days before the season opener

Six players and a coaching staff member of the Bengal team for the Ranji Trophy have tested positive for COVID-19. The team is scheduled to face Tripura on January 13 in a Group B encounter.

The Bengal team have been drawn alongside Vidarbha, Rajasthan, Kerala, Haryana and Tripura in their group. The state association conducted a round of RT-PCR testing for the contingent ahead of the Ranji Trophy. CAB President Snehasish Ganguly assured that all of the necessary precautions are being taken in the aftermath of the test results.

"Keeping in mind the current pandemic situation, the Cricket Association of Bengal had conducted RTPCR Tests of all Bengal cricketers as a safety measure," CAB secretary Snehasish Ganguly said in a statement.
"The results have come out and it has been found that certain players had tested positive. The CAB is taking all necessary precautions and actions in this regard."

According to sources, the six players to have contracted the virus are namely Sudip Chatterjee, Anustup Majumdar, Kazi Junaid Saifi, Geet Puri, Pradipta Pramanik and Surajit Yadav. Assistant coach Sourasish Lahiri is a member of the coaching staff found to be infected.

"The details of the strain are yet to be ascertained. They are being isolated as per protocols," the source said.

All the aforementioned seven individuals were involved in an intra-squad warm-up game held at the Jadavpur University second campus ground in Salt Lake. The match was conducted on Sunday in a bid to prepare for the campaign.

The team are slated to play a two-day warm-up fixture against the Mumbai team led by Prithvi Shaw on Tuesday (4 January). The contest was reportedly canceled with doubts lingering over their second warm-up fixture.

Cricket Association of Bengal decide to put all local tournaments on hold

In the wake of recent events, the CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal) has decided to call an emergency apex council meeting on Tuesday. The governing body has also taken the decision to put a hold on all local tournaments until a solution is devised to combat the ongoing volatile COVID-19 sitaution.

CAB president Avishek Dalmiya stated in a joint statement with secretary Snehasish:

"Till the time the meeting is held, keeping in mind the prevailing pandemic situation and the recent upsurge, the CAB has decided to put on hold all the local tournaments currently underway."

The statement added:

"The CAB is also taking immediate steps to vaccinate the registered players who fall in the 15-18 age bracket."

The previous season of the Ranji Trophy was canceled due to the pandemic. The new Omicron variant poses a huge threat to the upcoming edition just days ahead of the season opener.

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Edited by Anantaajith Raghuraman