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Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy

Four Mumbai players test Covid-19 positive; withdrawn from T20 squad

On their way to compete in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Twenty20 tournament (SMAT), the Senior Mumbai team was plagued with a Covid-19 issue, and four of their players had to be pulled from the squad just hours before the event began.  At the Mumbai airport, Sarfaraz Khan, Prashant Solanki, Shams Mulani, and Sairaj Patil were discovered to be Covid positive. They were all sent home and ordered to isolate themselves for seven days. Officials from the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) have stated that replacements will be sent out soon.

Ajinkya Rahane

The Ajinkya Rahane-led team was on its way to Guwahati when the players tested positive for Covid. Mumbai is grouped with Karnataka, Bengal, Baroda, Chhattisgarh, and Services in the Elite B Group.   The episode has sparked indignation within the MCA, which is already beset by internal strife. Bio-security norms have been questioned in the areas where the players have been practicing. There have also been questions about why the athletes were recently transported to a commando training center in the city.

The day before their scheduled Departure

All of the players have been practicing at the Wankhede in recent weeks, and they did so again the day before their departure. “This is the reality of the times. We cannot avoid Covid even after taking the best possible measures. The mandatory RT-PCR test was done a day before and the players were told not to go to the airport if any one of them is positive. But they still went. On seeing the positive report, they were sent back from the airport,” an MCA official said adding, “The selectors have been informed and they will pick the replacements.”

The SMAT begins on November 4 in Lucknow, Baroda, Delhi, Vijayawada, and Haryana, as well as Guwahati, however, players must arrive a week ahead of time for a five-day pre-tournament quarantine.

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