New Delhi: Defending champions Mumbai Indians will begin their campaign in the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) against Royal Challengers Bangalore on Friday at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. And a vital cog in the MI unit is all-rounder Kieron Pollard. While there have been quite a few posts from the MI camp in Chennai on social media, Pollard's absence has raised questions on whether he will make a late entry into the tournament.
Speaking to ANI, sources close to the West Indies all-rounder have confirmed that the senior campaigner joined the MI unit in Chennai and has just finished his seven-day quarantine period.
"He left West Indies and joined the MI unit in Chennai. He has just finished his quarantine period as prescribed by the BCCI Standard Operating Procedure and that is why he wasn't seen around in MI training activities," the source said.
The IPL SOP only excused players who were part of the India-England limited-overs series and moved directly to their respective IPL bio-bubbles from undergoing mandatory quarantine.
"Players coming directly from the bubble created for India versus England series, may be permitted to join the franchise squad without serving the mandatory quarantine period, provided they satisfy the following criteria -- after the conclusion of India versus England series, the players are moved directly to the franchise team hotel either in the team bus or on a chartered flight," the SOP stated.
Breach of any bio-secure environment protocols by franchise members or their families will be subject to disciplinary action by the BCCI, the cricketing body has clearly mentioned.
In fact, RCB skipper Virat Kohli too is part of the quarantine process as he left the Pune bubble that was created for the India-England series and joined the RCB unit only on April 1. Talisman AB de Villiers also joined the RCB squad on the same day. Both are undergoing quarantine and are expected to take the training ground after returning with negative results to their COVID-19 tests.
The Mumbai Indians outfit suffered a scare on Tuesday after scout and wicket-keeping consultant Kiran More tested positive for COVID-19. But fortunately, the test on the players and rest of the support staff came negative. But as a precautionary measure, Mumbai Indians' training session for Tuesday was cancelled.
In a big relief for RCB, opener Devdutt Padikkal has joined the team after returning negative for coronavirus. "We are pleased to inform that Royal Challengers Bangalore, left-handed batsman Devdutt Paddikal, has joined the team on 7th April 2021 with negative reports for COVID-19 as per BCCI protocols. RCB medical team was in constant touch with Devdutt to ensure his safety and well-being," read a press statement by the RCB Management on Wednesday. Unfortunately, RCB's Australian all-rounder Daniel Sams tested positive for coronavirus.