Left-arm pace bowler Natarajan, who has made a comeback following a knee surgery, has been isolated along with six close contacts who include India all-rounder Vijay Shankar.
“Sunrisers Hyderabad player T Natarajan tested positive for COVID-19 at a scheduled RT-PCR test. The player has isolated himself from the rest of the squad. He is currently asymptomatic,” a BCCI release stated on Wednesday. “The rest of the contingent, including the close contacts, underwent RT-PCR tests at 5am local time (6:30am IST) and the test reports are negative.” The close contacts identified by the medical team also include Vijay Kumar (team manager), J Shyam Sundar (physiotherapist), Anjana Vannan (doctor), Tushar Khedkar (logistics manager) and Ganesan Periyasamy (net bowler).
As per the IPL’s Standard Operating Procedure, Natarajan will have to isolate for 10 days and test negative twice before being allowed back into the bio-secure bubble. A senior BCCI official tracking IPL developments said that Sunrisers could have done better in terms of arranging their travel plans. “It is a bit weird that Natarajan tested positive on the 11th day of his arrival from India. He has tested negative thrice as per protocols during the first five days. During the six-day quarantine, there was always the risk of one such case,” he said.
“I don’t think that the IPL operations team should have allowed SRH players to arrive late. In case you are arriving late, it should have been a 14-day hard quarantine,” added the official. The development is a major blow for bottom-placed SRH, which missed Natarajan’s services for five of the seven matches during the first leg in India in April and May.