The Covid-hit Delhi Capitals will now play Wednesday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) game against Punjab Kings at Mumbai’s Brabourne stadium. All IPL teams stay in Mumbai hotels and the match venue has been shifted from Pune to avoid travel.
Although everyone else in DC, apart from the five who tested positive, returned negative in the fourth round of RT-PCR testing, the decision to play the game in Mumbai was taken “to avoid any further incident due to any undetected case during a long-distance bus journey in a closed environment,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah said on Tuesday. Pune is roughly 150 km from south Mumbai.
Both the DC and PBKS camps were alerted on Tuesday morning to stay put in Mumbai, after the IPL management put the Wankhede and Brabourne stadiums on standby. DC stay in a south Mumbai hotel and Brabourne stadium is only a 10-minute drive.
“Another reason to move the match out of Pune was that there is only one hotel in Pune where a team bubble has been created,” a franchise official said. “It was better to avoid any risks, until DC’s Covid incubation period is done.”
DC are also scheduled to play Rajasthan Royals in Pune on April 22. Clearance for that match will only be given later.
Capitals physio Patrick Farhat tested positive for Covid last Friday, after which the rest of the DC contingent has been undergoing daily tests as per tournament rules. BCCI said in a statement that DC masseur Chetan Kumar tested positive on April 16, followed by Marsh, team doctor Abhijit Salvi and a social media team member on April 18.
The DC contingent will undergo another round of RT-PCR tests on Wednesday. BCCI officials said even if others test positive, the match will go ahead as long as DC can field enough fit players.
As per IPL’s operational rules, the need to reschedule a match will only arise in case a team has “less than 12 players (at least 7 must be Indian) available for selection, whether due to the Covid-19 pandemic or otherwise.”
The DC-PBKS match will be played by following social distancing norms outside of playing hours—avoid shaking hands. The same norms were followed during DC’s match on Saturday against Royal Challengers Bangalore, which was played after Farhat’s positive test.
IPL is being played by creating bio-bubbles across four venues in Maharashtra—in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Pune—to avoid the risk of virus due to air travel.