Less than a week away from the season opener, the Indian T20 League suffered a massive blow on Friday as eight of the 19 ground staff at the Wankhede Stadium tested positive for the global virus.
The venue, which recently celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Indian cricket team's 2011 World Cup win, was scheduled to host 10 matches from April 10 to April 25 with Chennai playing Delhi in the first game of the 2021 edition at the Wankhede Stadium.
With an excess of 47,000 cases on Friday, the Maharashtra government is currently pondering upon a potential mini-lockdown. Between Friday evening and Saturday morning, the count of ground staff at the Wankhede Stadium returning with positive tests went from eight to 10.
"Yes, it was eight positive cases yesterday (Friday) as far as ground staff are concerned. Today two more positive cases have emerged and all 10 have been sent back home and are isolated. Also, six to seven event management staff hired by the BCCI have also tested positive," a senior Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) official told PTI.
When asked if there will be any effect on the scheduled games, the official affirmed that there will be no threat and they (MCA and Wankhede Stadium officials) will be ready by the time the tournament starts.
A senior office-bearer from the BCCI told PTI that the governing body is indeed concerned about the situation. "Look, even if there is a lockdown, the teams are in bio-bubble and also it's a closed-door event. So we are still confident that the Indian T20 League games in Mumbai will be held as per schedule."
Indore and Hyderabad have been kept as stand-by venues should the cases for the global virus continue to go up in the state of Maharashtra and in Mumbai.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain