A COVID-19 outbreak has sent the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 schedule into complete disarray, as the Kolkata Knight Riders' (KKR) Monday fixture against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) was postponed after Varun Chakravarthy and Sandip Warrier tested COVID-19 positive.
The match, slated to be played in Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium, will now have to be rescheduled by the Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI), potentially leading to a total shakeup of the league itinerary this year.
KKR are not the only squad to be affected by the coronavirus, as two Chennai Super Kings players and one staff member also tested COVID-19 positive on Monday, leading to the three-time champions cancelling their practice session in New Delhi on the same day, ANI reported.
The Delhi Capitals, Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings and Chennai Super Kings, the sides Knights have played against in the last 14 days, have all been asked to self-isolate by their respective franchises, according to a report in the Indian Express.
How can the fixture issue be worked out?
The league in 2021 started out with 11 double headers between teams. In view of the situation at hand, number of double handers can possibly be increased by the BCCI.
As per the report, both the teams mentioned above and KKR will be conducting daily tests of their players, and that a hospital has been roped in to deliver same-day test results.
What about an extension?
The IPL holds a limited window, and the final of the tournament has been scheduled by the BCCI to take place on May 30. An extension might see a stretch on to early June, but that, at the moment, is not confirmed and remains a possibility.
A timing problem might also arise due to the fact that the World Test Championship finals between India and New Zealand is scheduled to take place between June 18 and 22 in England, in which case, the Indian Test squad would need adequate time for training and rest before getting into the contest.