Covid has breached the IPL bubble with immediate concerns for the safety of Aussies Pat Cummins and Ben Cutting as a furious Michael Slater branded the government's India lockout a disgrace.

The IPL's worst fears were realised when Kolkata Knight Riders bowlers Varun Chakravarty and Sandeep Warrier tested positive on Sunday. The franchise is testing the other squad members daily to "identify any other possible cases" the IPL said.

There are also unconfirmed reports that other players at the Chennai Super Kings have tested positive.

 

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Pat Cummins has been in contact with Varun Chakravarty, who tested positive to the virus.
Pat Cummins has been in contact with Varun Chakravarty, who tested positive to the virus.

It is understood that nervous Australians, who had noted commentator Michael Slater's exit to the Maldives on the weekend, are keen to learn the details of his escape.

Slater lambasted the government on Twitter on Monday night, claiming "if our government cared for the safety of Aussies they would allow us to get home.''

"It's a disgrace. How dare you treat us like this? How about you sort out (the) quarantine system. I had government permission to work on the IPL but now I have government neglect.''

A number of other players are keen to leave as soon as possible by the same route as Slater.

Andrew Tye, Kane Richardson and Adam Zampa all left and returned to Australia before the government passed legislation which would see any Australian returning from India jailed for five years.

Cummins spoke to his manager Neil Maxwell on Monday afternoon and assured him he is in good health.

"Pat is perfectly fine,'' Maxwell said.

"Everyone else is fine. Two guys have it. There is no issue. They still feel quite safe and commend the way it has been handled. They are pretty relaxed about it. There are no alarm bells around it to be frank.''

The move by the government to jail anyone who returned shocked the Australians.

Allrounder Daniel Sams tested positive to the virus on arrival but has since been cleared and returned to play.

 

Infectious disease physician Dr Paul Griffin said the positive tests should prompt the future of the competition to be immediately "reassessed.''

"Now there are positive cases inside the bubble the chances of other people inside the bubble being positive are very significant,'' Dr Griffin said.

"It demonstrates the plan in place is not sufficient to protect players. All the players are now at some risk."

Monday night's match between the Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata has been postponed but there are very real concerns about the tournament proceeding if the virus has hit other teams as rumoured.

The IPL confirmed the positives to the two KKR players and said the game had been rescheduled.

"Both the players have isolated themselves from the rest of the squad," the IPL said.

"The medical team is in continuous touch with the duo and are monitoring their health.

"Meanwhile, the Kolkata Knight Riders have now moved towards a daily testing routine to identify any other possible cases and treat them at the earliest."

The Indian government has been determined for the IPL to continue in the midst of the humanitarian tragedy and India will fear losing October's T20 World Cup if the premier domestic competition fails.

The two KKR bowlers are understood to have left the biosecurity bubble to have a scan in recent days.

 

Cummins and his teammates will be placed in isolation and it is unknown when they will be able to play again.

The greatest concern is there has been a lag between tests and results and it is assumed the bowler was mixing with other members of the squad in that period.

The double mutant version of the virus, which is rampant in parts of India, is far more infectious than earlier incarnations.

Cummins had earlier donated $50,000 to help Indians struggling with the pandemic, which has hit that country harder than anywhere else. There were more 400,000 positive cases reported in a recent 24 hour period and death rates, which are officially around 3500 a day, are considered to be far higher than reported.

Zampa, who left the tournament last week, had criticised the IPL's biosecurity arrangements, saying he did not feel safe, but others have had no concerns that they have aired publicly.

The IPL governing body increased testing frequencies and banned the delivery of food from outside last week, but with over 350,000 Indians testing positive every day there has been an increasing lag time between tests and results returning.

The positive test is a disaster for the IPL, which is facing criticism for conducting the tournament as the country is gripped by a humanitarian crisis.

Franchises have guaranteed they will do everything to get the players and employees home at the end of the tournament, while Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley told SEN on Monday there were no plans to hire a charter plane for the cricketers.

Cricket Australia and the Australian Cricketers Association made a donation to India on Monday.

"Australians and Indians share a special bond and, for many, our mutual love of cricket is central to that friendship," Hockley said.

 

 

"It has been distressing and saddening to learn of the suffering of so many of our Indian sisters and brothers during the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic, and our hearts go out to everyone impacted.

"We were all deeply moved by the sentiments expressed and donations given by Pat Cummins and Brett Lee over the past week.

"In that same spirit, we are proud to partner with UNICEF Australia to raise funds that will help the people of India by providing the health system with much-needed oxygen, testing equipment and vaccines."

There are still 36 Australian cricketers, coaches and commentators in India, including Test stars Steve Smith and Dave Warner and former players Ricky Ponting and Simon Katich.

Originally published as Cummins COVID fear as Slater blasts 'government neglect'



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