The 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) will begin on April 9 in Chennai with defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) taking on Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
The biggest T20 league in the world, which was postponed from April-May last year to September-November and shifted outside India to UAE due to coronavirus pandemic, will be held in its traditional window this time within bio-security arrangements.
To safeguard everyone involved in the tournament, the BCCI has put in place some protocols, the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs). According to the SOPs, a player who tests positive for COVID-19 must isolate in the designated area outside the bio-secure environment for a minimum of 10 days from the first day of symptoms or the date of collection of the sample which resulted in a positive RT-PCR report, whichever is earlier.
The SOP is also in place for overseas players arriving from outside India to take part in IPL 2021. As per the BCCI protocols, only those who move from a bio-secure bubble outside India via a chartered flight here will be able to avoid the otherwise mandatory seven-day pre-tournament quarantine. Those arriving via business flights, however, will have to isolate themselves before being allowed to enter their IPL team’s bio-bubble.
The IPL 2021, however, hasn’t been immune from the COVID-19 threat completely as some of the players have given positive tests for the virus in recent days. There is a spike also observed in the number of people affected by the disease in Maharashtra, the state for the city of Mumbai, which is scheduled to host as many as 10 games at the start of the season.
Apart from the positive tests and mandatory isolation period, some players are affected due to late arrival to India near the IPL 2021 and also pre-tournament injuries. Given everything, some cricketers are set to miss a game or more at the start of their respective team’s campaign. And so today, we are focusing on these gents and enlisting them.
Also Read: IPL 2021 – Five Opening Combinations Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Could Try
Player availability from CSK, RCB, Mumbai Indians and others for IPL 2021
1. Daniel Sams (RCB)
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) cricketer Daniel Sams tested COVID-19 positive on Wednesday (April 7).
The Australian all-rounder has contracted the virus, mentioned the RCB in a statement, adding that Sams had given a negative test upon his arrival to India back on April 3.
However, he returned positive in the second round of testing on April 7 and is now under isolation.
“His report from the 2nd test on 7th April came positive. Sams is currently asymptomatic and he is currently in isolation at a designated medical facility,” the RCB tweeted.
“Royal Challengers Bangalore medical team is in constant touch with Daniel Sams and continue to monitor his health and abide by the BCCI protocols,” the franchise added.
Royal Challengers Bangalore medical team is in constant touch with Daniel Sams and continue to monitor his health and abide by the BCCI protocols.
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) April 7, 2021
Sams will now have to go through a 10-day isolation phase as per the BCCI protocols for IPL 2021, which rules him out of RCB’s first two matches – on April 9 versus Mumbai Indians (MI) and April 14 against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH).
If Sams tests negative for corona twice post his isolation on April 17 and clear other medical check-ups, he’ll be available to play the encounter with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) on the following day.
2. Devdutt Padikkal (RCB)
The RCB on Wednesday (April 7) confirmed that their young left-hand batsman Devdutt Padikkal has joined the team after testing negative for coronavirus and could be available for the team’s opening day fixture versus MI.
Padikkal had tested positive for COVID-19 on March 22 and was under quarantine at home. But in an update, the RCB stated that Padikkal has joined the team’s camp after giving negative tests. The franchise had mentioned in a statement that their medical team was “in constant touch with Devdutt to ensure his safety and well-being”.
“As per BCCI and IPL protocol, I had to quarantine at home for two weeks,” Padikkal said in a video released by RCB on Twitter. “Now I have joined the camp after two negative tests, and I am feeling completely fine now, and I just can’t wait to get back out there and join the RCB camp.”
Bold Diaries: Devdutt Padikkal joins the RCB camp after testing negative for COVID-19. He’s healthy, feeling better and raring to go. Here’s a message to all RCB fans from Devdutt.#PlayBold #WeAreChallengers #IPL2021 pic.twitter.com/BtVszNABJW
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) April 7, 2021
Padikkal was one of RCB’s bright spots last season where they made the playoffs. The 20-year-old from Karnataka scored 473 runs, including five half-centuries, from his 15 innings at an average of 31.53 and strike-rate of 124.80.
3. Axar Patel (DC)
Axar Patel, Delhi Capitals (DC) spin all-rounder, tested positive for coronavirus on Saturday (April 3). The news was confirmed via a media statement from DC. The franchise also informed that their cricketer has gone into self-isolation.
“Axar had checked into the team hotel in Mumbai on March 28, 2021, with a negative report,” read the DC statement. “His report from the second COVID test, came positive. He is currently in isolation at a designated medical care facility. The Delhi Capitals medical team is in constant touch with Axar and ensuring his safety and well-being. We wish him a speedy recovery.”
As per the BCCI SOPs, Axar will now have to quarantine outside his team’s bubble for a minimum of 10 days. As Axar’s period of self-isolation begins from April 3, he will be missing DC’s opening game of IPL 2021 scheduled for April 10 in Mumbai versus Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Axar was crucial to DC’s surge till the final of the IPL 2020 in UAE last year. The left-arm spinner contributed 9 wickets while bowling his overs at an economy rate of only 6.41, besides smashing crucial runs lower down the order at a strike-rate of 137.64.
4. Quinton de Kock (Mumbai Indians)
Being gracious, Cricket South Africa (CSA) allowed all its IPL-bound cricketers to leave the ongoing limited-overs series versus Pakistan at home post the second ODI in Johannesburg. The move helped MI’s opening batsman and gloveman Quinton de Kock reach India on April 5.
In normal circumstances, De Kock would’ve trained and be ready to play the opening match against RCB. However, amid the coronavirus pandemic, could miss the encounter if MI failed to arrange a chartered flight for their player as he would remain in isolation till April 12 in adherence with the BCCI protocols.
De Kock was pivotal to MI winning their fifth IPL title last year, as he scored 503 runs from his 16 innings in the campaign while averaging 35.92 and carrying a strike-rate of 140.50. The left-hand batsman’s tournament tally included four half-centuries.
5. Anrich Nortje (DC)
Delhi Capitals (DC) pacer Anrich Nortje is also set to miss his team’s opening encounter in IPL 2021 on April 10 against Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Nortje arrived from the Pakistan series in India on April 5 via a business flight and will remain in isolation till April 12.
Therefore, the pacer won’t be taking part in the CSK encounter and will be available only from DC’s next match on April 15 versus Rajasthan Royals (RR) in Mumbai.
Nortje was extremely crucial to DC’s campaign in IPL 2020 in UAE where they reached the final – Delhi’s best-ever IPL finish. The tall, express paceman took 22 wickets from 16 innings in the tournament, while averaging 23.27 and going at 8.39 runs per over.
6. Adam Zampa (RCB)
Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) wrist-spinner Adam Zampa will also be missing his team’s opening match. Not because of any corona positive test, injury or any other issue, but due to his marriage.
The news on Zampa was confirmed on March 24 by RCB’s Director of Cricket, Mike Hesson, via a video posted over Twitter by the popular franchise.
“Adam Zampa is getting married… We won’t have our full contingent of overseas players available for the first game,” Hesson said in the video.
“It’s an important time for him and it’s something that as a franchise we are aware of and we respect and we hope he has a great time.”
“So when he joins us, once again he is going to be fresh and make a massive contribution to the rest of the tournament.”
RCB’s IPL 2021 Camp and Player Availability
When’s the pre-season camp starting? When are the overseas players arriving? On @myntra presents Bold Diaries, Mike Hesson leaves no room for speculations ahead of #VivoIPL2021.#PlayBold #WeAreChallengers #IPL2021 #Classof2021 pic.twitter.com/yxBFNYVwW8
— Royal Challengers Bangalore (@RCBTweets) March 24, 2021
Zampa, an ever-improving customer with the ball, played only three IPL games last season in UAE but has taken 43 wickets in 41 T20Is for Australia while bowling at an economy rate of 6.92.
7. Jofra Archer (RR)
Rajasthan Royals (RR) speedster Jofra Archer aggravated a longstanding elbow problem while playing for England during their recent all-format tour of India. It was later realised that Archer had to also undergo surgery for a freakish accident that happened in January. The surgery was intended to remove a glass fragment from a tendon on his right hand after an attempt to clean his fish tank went wrong.
Archer was the stand-out performer for an otherwise struggling Rajasthan Royals (RR) side last year in the IPL. He took 20 wickets from 14 innings while bowling his overs at an economy rate of 6.55 even as RR failed to make it through to the playoffs. The inaugural season champions won just six and lost eight of their 14 matches to finish last on the points table.
The team would’ve hoped for some relief going into the latest season. But, as it stands, there is no end to RR’s misery in sigth, with Archer confirmed to miss their opening match on April 12 in Mumbai against Punjab Kings (PBKS). Archer, in fact, could be potentially skipping the entire season of the IPL due to injury.
8. Kagiso Rabada (DC)
From one lead pacer to the other, Delhi Capitals’ (DC) Kagiso Rabada will also be missing the start of his team’s campaign in IPL 2021. Rabada won’t be able to play the match against CSK on April 10 in Mumbai as he spends time in his hotel room quarantining.
Rabada is learnt to have arrived in India on April 5 but without any chartered flight arranged by DC, which makes him liable for the mandatory seven-day isolation before being allowed to enter his team’s bubble for IPL 2021.
Always a vital cog in DC’s wheels, Rabada took 30 wickets from 17 innings in IPL 2020 while delivering his overs at an economy rate of 8.34. The 25-year-old speedster was instrumental to DC reaching the final of the competition, their best-ever finish.
It remains to be seen what the makeup of DC’s pace attack will be versus CSK with both Rabada and Nortje, their new-ball pair, missing out.
9. David Miller (RR)
David Miller warmed the benches mostly than playing during the IPL 2020 in UAE for Rajasthan Royals (RR). However, even if the inaugural champions wanted the services of their explosive South African batting recruit for their opening match in IPL 2021 on April 12, he won’t be able to provide them.
Miller arrived in India on April 5 and went straight into a seven-day isolation which finishes only on the day of the first match with Punjab Kings (PBKS) in Mumbai.
The left-hand batsman had joined RR after a bid of INR 75 lakhs ahead of the IPL 2020. He is in very good form leading into the league’s 14th edition, scoring two consecutive half-centuries in the ODIs against Pakistan.
Miller has played 80 games in his IPL career and scored 1,850 runs at a strike-rate of 138.78.
10. Lungi Ngidi (CSK)
Chennai Super Kings (CSK) lost their Australian pace recruit, Josh Hazlewood, for the entire IPL 2021 after he opted out of the season citing potential bio-bubble fatigue.
Hazlewood’s decision left CSK feeling hurt and needing a replacement in the overseas pace category. The team would’ve felt relieved knowing they have South African fast-bowler Lungi Ngidi in their squad.
However, Ngidi himself is unavailable for CSK’s opening match on April 10 against DC as he will be going through the necessary seven-day quarantine upon arriving in India from the Pakistan series on April 5.
Ngidi, the tall Proteas quick, has played 11 matches in his IPL career so far and has taken 20 wickets at an average of 16.15 while conceding 7.69 runs per over.