Eight ground staff at Wankhede Stadium tested positive for COVID-19 in testing ahead of the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Wankhede are expected to host 10 league games from April 10 to 25.
Sports star understands that all 19 ground staff at Wankhede Stadium have undergone RT-PCR testing over the past week. While three were confirmed to have contracted the virus during tests carried out on March 26, five other reports of tests carried out on April 1 came back positive on Friday.
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It could not be determined whether the remaining ground agents were isolated after a few were found infected in the first round of testing.
The development comes just a week before the start of the 2021 IPL, with defending champion Mumbai Indians set to face Royal Challangers Bangalore in Chennai on April 9.
The Mumbai Cricket Association can bring in its core staff from its other two facilities – Sharad Pawar Academy at Bandra-Kurla Complex and Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana in Kandivali – to replace infected staff. However, it will be interesting to see if BCCI is forced to rethink its decision to stick with Mumbai as the IPL venue.
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Despite the COVID-19 outbreak at its worst in Maharashtra and the state government considering reintroducing severe restrictions, BCCI has prepared for the matches in Mumbai, which will be played without spectators.