Seven members of the Bengal Ranji Trophy team have tested positive for COVID-19, throwing their preparation in disarray, days before they start their campaign in the premier domestic tournament. Placed in Group B, along with Vidarbha, Rajasthan, Kerala, Haryana and Tripura, Bengal are slated to kick off their campaign against Tripura in Bengaluru from January 13.
”Keeping in mind the current pandemic situation, the Cricket Association of Bengal had conducted RTPCR Tests of all Bengal cricketers as a safety measure,” CAB secretary Snehasish Ganguly said in a statement late on Sunday evening.
”The results have come out and it has been found that certain players had tested positive. The CAB is taking all necessary precautions and actions in this regard.” According to sources, six Bengal players — Sudip Chatterjee, Anustup Majumdar, Kazi Junaid Saifi, Geet Puri, Pradipta Pramanik, Surajit Yadav — and assistant coach Sourasish Lahiri were infected with the virus.
All the seven were present during an intra-squad warm-up game at the Jadavpur University second campus ground in Salt Lake on Sunday.
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”The details of the strain are yet to be ascertained. They are being isolated as per protocols,” the source said.
The development meant their two-day warm-up game against the Prithvi Shaw-led Mumbai from Tuesday at the CCFC stands cancelled.
It remains to be seen whether they would take part in the second warm-up fixture.
The CAB has also decided to put on hold all local tournaments that were presently underway and has called for an emergency apex council meeting on Tuesday to review the current COVID-19 situation.
”Till the time the meeting is held, keeping in mind the prevailing pandemic situation and the recent upsurge, the CAB has decided to put on hold all the local tournaments currently underway,” CAB president Avishek Dalmiya stated in a joint statement with secretary Snehasish.
”The CAB is also taking immediate steps to vaccinate the registered players who fall in the 15-18 age bracket,” it added.
As per the government data released on Sunday, the city has seen a 14-fold rise in daily coronavirus infections in West Bengal within a week.
The state on Sunday recorded 6,153 infections with Kolkata accounting for 3,194 of them. On December 26, the respective figures were 544 and 219.
As per the government bulletin, eight people died of coronavirus on Sunday, while nine such patients had perished the previous day.