First IPL player tests positive for COVID-19

Thursday, 23 September 2021 00:54 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Thangarasu Natarajan


DUBAI (AFP): Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) bowler Thangarasu Natarajan has become the first Indian Premier League (IPL) player to test positive for coronavirus just ahead of the team’s match on Wednesday, organisers said.

Natarajan and six close contacts, including all-rounder Vijay Shankar, have been isolated from the players who will face Delhi Capitals in the Twenty20 tournament in Dubai.

SRH said Natarajan is “asymptomatic”.

The six contacts and other players all returned negative tests early Wednesday.

Team Manager Vijay Kumar, Physiotherapist J. Shyam Sundar, Doctor Anjana Vannan, Logistics Manager Tushar Khedkar and net bowler Periyasamy Ganesan will stay in isolation.

The IPL only resumed on Sunday in the United Arab Emirates after a five-month suspension because of a devastating surge in COVID-19 deaths in India.

Teams returning to the event in the UAE have been put in strict bio-bubbles.

Limited spectators have been allowed at the three UAE venues, including Abu Dhabi and Sharjah for the first time in two years since the pandemic hit the globe.

Natarajan, 30, had only recently returned from an injury suffered during India’s tour of Australia in January. But his absence is a big blow for bottom-placed SRH. 

The team, led by New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, but already missing England star Jonny Bairstow, must win their remaining matches to hope to get a play-off place.