Friday's revelation of a player along with several support staff and social media personnel testing positive for the global virus at UAE was further compounded on Saturday by reports of a second player - a right-hand top-order batsman - also found to have been infected with the virus.
The news has led to a growing discussion around a five-day training camp that the team had conducted in Chennai from August 16 at the Chepauk Stadium, located in the Triplicane region of Chennai, one of the most badly-hit cities in the country with 131,869 cases and 2690 deaths as of August 28. In fact, the areas surrounding the stadium were marked off as a containment zone as recently as July and some of the stadium's ground staff reside in the gullies around the facility.
Given those facts, Chennai CEO Kasi Viswanathan was understandably wary about going ahead with the camp, evident from his comments in a video uploaded to the team's YouTube channel on August 26, "When the tournament dates were announced, I had reservations about conducting the camp here because the bio-bubble had to be created."
However, it was captain MS Dhoni at whose insistence the camp went ahead, as per Viswanathan, "In fact, I sent a message to him (Dhoni) whether it would be worthwhile having a camp for five days before going to Dubai. But the captain was crystal clear in his thoughts.
"He said, 'Sir, we have not played for nearly four-five months. All of us need to get together in Chennai. We should be in a bio-bubble in Chennai so that we get used to that when we land in Dubai.'"
🚨 BCCI Statement - COVID -19 Testing— IndianPremierLeague (@IPL) August 29, 2020
▪️ 13 personnel have tested +ve, 2 of them are players
▪️ A total of 1988 RT-PCR Tests have been conducted between Aug 20-28
▪️ All affected personnel & their close contacts are asymptomatic and have been isolated.
While Chennai were the only team to have organised an official training camp before setting out for Dubai, it should be noted that five Punjab players had trained with their coach Anil Kumble - all of whom were based in Bengaluru - while Mumbai had also held a practice session at the Reliance Corporate Park with Zaheer Khan, Hardik Pandya, Jasprit Bumrah and skipper Rohit Sharma in attendance.
Feature image courtesy: Twitter/Chennai