COVID-19 has struck the Indian Premier League yet again. This time it is a television production crew member.
The IPL host broadcaster was reportedly compelled to postpone the flight after a member of the first batch of the IPL production crew was reported to be infected with the novel coronavirus.
“STAR had asked the first lot of Indian crew members to reach the UAE from India on August 31, after reports of their Covid-19 tests, which were hurriedly done on Saturday on receiving instructions from the broadcaster. But one of them has tested positive and on getting this news the broadcaster immediately sent another instruction to all the personnel to defer their August 31 Emirates flight to the UAE,” news agency IANS has quoted a reliable BCCI-IPL source as saying.
The majority of the IPL 2020 broadcast crew will consist of professionals from India, coming from Bengaluru, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai. The first batch was to leave on Sunday, but the broadcaster has reportedly asked them to wait till the next advisory.
The BCCI-IPL source said that STAR might now wait and watch developments vis-a-vis COVID-19 results of the other production team members — and also the development within the eight competing teams now in the UAE, besides the strict protocols in Abu Dhabi particularly. The matches are to be played in Abu Dhabi, which was also to stage the opening game between CSK and Mumbai Indians, Sharjah, and Dubai. All three emirates have different protocols and that has further made life difficult for all associated with the IPL.
“Now, major changes could be effected in the IPL following a spate of positive Covid-19 test results of team personnel and now a crew member of the production team. One could also see changes in the opening game, which was likely to be played in Abu Dhabi, between champions Mumbai Indians and runners-up CSK. One big reason is that the number of positive Covid-19 cases are rising in Abu Dhabi, though initially Dubai and Sharjah were more affected,” said the source.
“But the authorities here don’t release the numbers of positive cases separately for all seven emirates; the numbers released are collective for the entire. So, one cannot exactly say which emirate is most affected based on the number of cases. Nonetheless, Abu Dhabi seems to be most impacted as of now, as can be seen from the strict protocols put in place,” a local resident of Abu Dhabi told IANS.
The 13th edition of IPL, which is scheduled to start on September 19, has already been jolted with 13 personnel, including at least two players of the Chennai Super Kings, testing positive and Suresh Raina, a permanent fixture of the Chennai-based franchise, returning to India after some disagreement with the CSK management.
Earlier, the production team members were to reach the UAE and straightaway go into quarantine. But now, not only has their departure been postponed but their quarantine period may also be longer once they reach the UAE.