Players recall how situation changed after Covid came knocking

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The IPL was forced to suspend proceedings indefinitely after four players and two coaches tested positive for Covid-19

New Delhi, May 6 (PTI): There was undeniable fear once Covid-19 found its way into IPL’s bio-bubble, some Indian players who participated in the recently-suspended T20 league have revealed with a couple of them also asserting that it wasn’t as ‘tight’ as it was last year.
The world’s biggest T20 league was forced to suspend proceedings indefinitely on Tuesday after four players and two coaches tested positive for Covid-19.
PTI spoke to some participants in the league to get an insight into the bio-bubble this year and how the dynamics changed after cases came to light inside it.
A player, who did not wish to be named, said that it wasn’t as secure as it was in the UAE, where not a single case cropped up during tournament-proper even though there were some who tested positive before it got rolling.
“Though teams and BCCI tried their best, the bubble was much tighter in the UAE. Here you could see people coming and going even though they were on different floors. I saw some use the pool also. Then practice facilities were also far away,” he said.
SreevatsGoswami, a former India U-19 World Cup winner who has played in IPL since its inception, said he does not suspect any player or support staff of violating the Covid-19 SOPs. He was playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“We were well taken care of inside the bubble. None of the players or support staff breached it. But once the virus entered, I will not deny, everyone panicked and the foreigners especially. You can’t really help it,” he said.
“I know I am a sportsman with good immunity. God forbid, if I contract the virus, I would recover. But what if as an asymptomatic carrier, I give it to my aged parents…When the virus entered, most players were scared because you don’t want your family to get affected,” he recalled.
India’s Covid case count breached the 4 lakh mark once again on Thursday and the daily death toll hovered close to 4,000. The desperate cries for hospital beds, oxygen and crucial medicines outside the IPL bubble caused global outrage and an outpouring of support.
IPL cricketers knew and understood the pain, according to Goswami and said the foreign recruits were left fearing for their own safety after they saw images of suffering on social media.
“Obviously you are not oblivious to what’s happening on the outside. When you see people dying because of lack of oxygen, hospitals running out of bed, you feel. For the foreigners, obviously it was scary, what they saw and read on Twitter,” he said.
“We indian players would try to comfort them that don’t worry things will be okay. Some of them were like ‘what if we get Covid over here? Will our health insurance policy work?” he revealed.
Goswami’s team featured players from both Australia and New Zealand. While the Australians have left, New Zealand players will fly out on Friday.
And amid all this, there were discussions on whether the league should even continue.
“There were contrasting views among players and support staff on what was happening outside. Some wanted the IPL to go on, some didn’t. And when the virus did enter the bubble, there was uneasiness…,” said the unnamed cricketer.
Cricketer-turned-commentator Deep Dasgupta refused to call the IPL bubble porous but did admit to having anxieties of his own once cases began to rise in Delhi.
“I wouldn’t say the bio bubble created this time was porous compared to last time in UAE. We were well taken care of and I felt secure,” he said.
“However, as the cases started rising in Delhi, I was a bit wary. Once you saw how people were suffering, it was disturbing. Also I was tense as my parents still live in Noida. So I was always thinking about them,” he added.

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