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Sunday, August 1, 2021

Covid news ! .. .. Krunal Pandya tests positive ! - T20I postponed !!!

Life has changed a lot !  - 2020 was lived under fear .. 2021 perceptions have not changed – vaccines have come, one always get a doubt whether the portrayed numbers are to be believed !!

Lot of sporting activities globally – the biggest of em all is of course ‘Tokyo Olympics 2020’ – then there is so much of Cricket too .. .. today was waiting to see Indian Team (predicting its composition itself is becoming challenging !) in 2nd T20I – which has been postponed by a day due to a new cause in Cricket !!

Indian player Krunal Pandya has tested positive and so, the match is tomorrow – what it will do – are there more players – would that affect Prithvi Shaw & Suryakumar Yadav’s travel to UK – with its bench strength and additional players in the squad, perhaps Indian team can still play the remaining two T20I with some more making their debuts – possibly Devdutt Padikkal, Rituraj Gaekwad or some one from the 5 who are with the team as net bowlers get a surprise lucky chance to represent India : - Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, Sai Kishore, Simarjeet Singh are the net bowlers !!

While many parts of the globe were reeling under dreaded Corona last year, West Indies travelled to England stayed in bio-secure bubble and played Tests.  In July 2020, Jofra Archer was excluded from the 2nd Test after breaching Covid 19 protocol when he went home enroute. 

India so far has vaccinated over 44 crore people against Coronavirus.  At 29,689, India reported less than 30,000 new Covid-19 cases after 132 days, according to Union health ministry data on Tuesday. The number of active cases in the country also fell below 4,00,000 after 124 days, it said.  Kerala on Tuesday recorded 22,129 fresh COVID-19 cases, pushing the infection caseload to 33,05,245, with the Test Positivity Rate (TPR) going back to more than 12 per cent. The number of people who succumbed to the virus rose to 16,326 with 156 more deaths.  The eyes of many experts and non-experts alike are currently on Kerala, as its COVID-19 case load has been increasing in increments far greater than any other state in India. The average number of daily new cases reached a low of 11,000 around the last week of June, 2021, and it has since been rising, albeit slowly, over the past two weeks. At the same time, the number of cases elsewhere in the country has been falling after a major second-wave peak in the first week of May.  In recent months,   Kerala currently accounts for close to 35% of all active cases in the country. Needless to say, the dominant narrative in the public discourse is that Kerala has failed to contain its COVID-19 epidemic.

To breathe a sigh of relief, Tamil Nadu recorded 1,767 positive cases of Covid-19 on Tuesday, bringing the state tally to 25,52,049. Among these, Chennai reported 139 positive cases, bringing the city’s total to 5,37,386. The state recorded 29 deaths on Tuesday putting the state toll at 33,966. A total of 2,312 patients were discharged following treatment, taking the total number of recoveries to 24,95,895.

The Tamil Nadu government has planned to vaccinate the most vulnerable sections soon and also train medical professionals to cope with the possible third wave of coronavirus, state Health Secretary Dr J Radhakrishnan said on Monday. Also, localised infections would be closely monitored and all out efforts would be made to ensure the pandemic is under check, he said. “Doctors and nurses would be trained to cope with the possible third wave and already the infrastructure at all the paediatric wards in the government hospitals across the state have been upgraded,” Radhakrishnan told PTI.

Getting back to stoppage and postponement of today’s T2oI at Colombo, Indian all-rounder, Krunal Pandya has tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the second T20I between Sri Lanka and India, scheduled for Tuesday evening, to be pushed back by a day. Pandya's positive test result came not too long before the scheduled start of play - 8pm local time - and eight other members of the Indian contingent have so far been identified as Pandya's close contacts and asked to isolate in their hotel rooms.

It is understood that Pandya complained of a sore throat on Tuesday morning, after which the Indian medical staff asked him to take the rapid antigen test, which came out positive. It is also understood that Pandya also underwent the RT-PCR test, globally recognised as the gold standard in Covid-19 testing, and that came out positive too.  BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a media release that the entire Indian squad would also undergo the RT-PCR test to "ascertain any further outbreak" in their camp. The BCCI did not identify the eight people who had been asked to isolate along with Pandya, but Shah told PTI that a majority of those were players.  

It could not be confirmed how long Pandya and the eight others are going to be in isolation, but one person privy to the discussions in the camp said that the period would be determined based on the strain of Covid-19 in question. There are no reports of positive results among the Sri Lankans, who are scheduled to be tested next on Wednesday morning. Professor Arjuna de Silva, who overseas SLC's bubble protocols for international tours, told ESPNcricinfo that it remained a mystery as to how Pandya could have contracted Covid-19, as there have been no reports of the bubble being broken, nor any other significant irregularities. The series has been played behind closed doors and both teams have been operating out of a bio-secure bubble with their movements restricted to only the team hotel and the ground. The India team has a hotel - the Taj Samudra - to themselves, and even the staff working in the hotel are essentially in the bubble, and undergo frequent testing. de Silva said that no one else, including staff, had tested positive so far.

This is the second time Covid-19 has forced Sri Lanka Cricket to tweak the itinerary of the six-match series. The ODI series was originally meant to commence on July 13, but had to be pushed to July 18 after a few positive cases emerged in the Sri Lankan group. This is also the second time in the last week that an international match has been postponed because of a positive Covid-19 test: the second West Indies vs Australia ODI in Barbados had to be postponed after the toss had been conducted because a non-playing member in the West Indies camp had tested positive.

As things stand, the second and third Sri Lanka T20Is will now be played back-to-back on Wednesday and Thursday. Though Pandya and some other players are likely to be unavailable for the last two games following the latest developments, India have enough back-up to field an XI, as they have travelled with an expanded squad of 20, plus five reserve bowlers. Though the series will end on schedule despite the postponement, the Indian team's return home, slotted for Thursday, is likely to be delayed. The development is also set to impact plans for Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav, the two batters who were selected to join the Indian Test squad in England. Shaw and Yadav were scheduled to travel to England at the end of the tour of Sri Lanka. 

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th July 2021.

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