Chennai Super Kings [CSK] bowling coach Lakshmipathy Balaji said he was left in a daze and it took him “24 hours for the seriousness to sink in” after he contracted the Covid-19 virus during the postponed Indian Premier League [IPL].
Balaji was one of those who contracted the virus across four teams which led to the postponement of the tournament.
“Was I scared? Initially I could not express my feelings. I knew people were dying outside. It took me another 24 hours to sink in the seriousness of [the] issue once [my] family and friends started to message. I started to get worried. From the second day in isolation I realised I had to monitor myself, recording all the health data. I was obviously anxious,” said Balaji while speaking to espncricinfo.com.
The former India pace bowler was flown to Chennai from Delhi along with batting coach Michael Hussey, who too had contracted the virus.
“As I was isolating on my own, having tested positive for Covid-19, a thought crossed my mind: recovering from Covid-19, both physically and mentally, is like experiencing an episode of Man vs Wild,” he said.
Though Balaji said he doesn’t know where Hussey and he contracted the virus, one of the places where they could have caught it is believed to be Delhi’s Roshanara Club grounds where CSK had a practice session.
“Then I came to know that Michael Hussey, too, had tested positive. Till day we don’t know how or where we contracted the coronavirus. We had a very strict protocol within the bubble from [the] first week of March when CSK’s preparatory camp started,” added Balaji.
Recalling the day he realised he was down with the virus, the eight-Test and 106 first-class matches veteran said, “On May 2, I was feeling a bit of uneasiness. I had 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 rest of the bubble’s safety.
“Along with me, after the May 2 testing, two others including Kasi Viswanathan [Super Kings’ CEO] and a helping staff member had also tested positive. To ensure it was a false positive, we were tested again the same day. I tested positive for the second time. Promptly, I was moved to another floor at the team hotel, separate from the rest of the Super Kings squad.”