As Covid-19 hit players, coaches, and groundstaff, the Board of Cricket for Control in India (BCCI) was forced to suspend the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. A few-weeks after pulling the plug on the cash-rich IPL 2021, it is still a mystery how Covid-19 breached the bio-bubble.
In an interview with ESPNcricinfo, former India fast bowler and bowling coach of Chennai Super Kings (CSK) Laxmipathy Balaji, and Varun Chakravarthy, the Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) spinner, narrate the fear after being tested positive and their challenging and unwinding journey to the recovery.
“Recovering from Covid-19, both physically and mentally, is like experiencing an episode of Man vs Wild,” recollects Balaji, who has recovered from the virus.
“On May 2, I was feeling a bit of uneasiness. I had a body ache and a mild nose block. I was tested the same day around mid-afternoon. By May 3 morning, I had tested positive. I was shocked. I had done nothing to breach the norms to endanger my and the rest of the bubble’s safety,” Balaji said.
Along with Balaji, two others, including Kasi Viswanathan (CSK’s CEO) and a helping staff member, tested positive.“I could not express my feelings. I knew people were dying outside. It took me another 24 hours to sink into the seriousness of the issue. I started to get worried about the others in my team who I was milling around with before I tested positive. Rajeev Kumar (CSK fielding coach), Robin Uthappa, Cheteshwar Pujara Deepak Chahar along with Kasi Sir were around me,” Balaji said.
The toughest thing is to keep your mind distracted: Varun
The Tamil Nadu and KKR spinner Varun Chakravarthy still feels weakness and dizziness a couple of weeks after recovering from the virus.
“The toughest thing about contracting Covid-19 is keeping your mind distracted and away from all that was happening. Because you are alone, away from your family and teammates,” said Varun.
The 29-year-old architect-turned cricketer has recovered but has yet to resume his training because of the post-Covid-19 symptoms.
“I don’t have cough or fever; there is weakness and dizziness. The loss of smell and taste is still intermittent, but I’m confident of being able to resume training soon,” says Varun.
“The thing I’ve learnt and would like to tell other athletes and individuals recovering from Covid-19 is to give your body at least two weeks to fully recover after you test negative. Also, even after people test negative, my advice is for them to continue to mask up so that you keep others around you safe,” he added.