NCA chief Dravid likely to head COVID task force

The BCCI is forming a COVID-19 task force and it will include, among others, former captain and National Cricket Academy chief Rahul Dravid, the apex body said in its SOP to state associations.

Dravid being the head of NCA is likely to be the head of the said task force. Players will have to sign a consent form before resuming training at their respective centres as per the standard operating procedure, which bars anyone above 60 years of age and individuals with underlying medical conditions from being part of the camp. For resumption of training at the NCA in Bengaluru, the COVID task force will include Dravid, a medical officer, a hygiene officer and BCCI AGM, Cricket Operations.

Their responsibilities will include communicating “clearly and regularly with the players, explaining measures being taken to manage risk, and the advice being given to individuals to follow the same and update of COVID19 cases to relevant higher management”.

Like the players at their respective state centres, cricketers at the NCA too will have to sign a consent form before resuming training. “All the Players and staff including administrative staff of NCA shall be tested for COVID-19 (RT-PCR test) to detect the possibility of COVID 19 infection before the resumption of training,” as per the SOP.

“Prior to the commencement of National Cricket Academy, the players shall submit a written undertaking to abide by all the protocols prescribed in this SOP and various Government orders issued from time to time in the context of COVID19 prevention.” According to its 100-page-long SOP, the players will have to sign the form acknowledging the risks involved with resumption of training amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The health and safety of players, staff and stakeholders will be the sole responsibility of respective State Cricket Associations,” read the BCCI guidelines on resumption of cricket, which is in PTI’s possession.

From travelling to the stadium to training there, the players will have to follow strict safety protocols.

Before the commencement of the camp, the medical team should acquire travel and medical history (past 2 weeks) of all players and staff through an online questionnaire. Any player and staff suspected to have COVID-19-like symptoms should undergo PCR tests.

“Two tests one day apart (Day 1 & Day 3) should be done to account for false negatives. If both the test results are negative, only then they should be included in the camp,” read the SOP.

The players will have to wear a N95 mask (without a valved respirator) on the way to the stadium and will be encouraged to wear eyewear in public places as well as during training. “A webinar before commencement and in-person education workshop on Day 1 of the camp must be conducted by the CMO (Chief Medical Officer, to be appointed by all state units) for all players & staff.”

Players are advised to take their own transportation on way to the stadium. Spectators, players’ parents and other visitors should not be allowed entry into the stadium at any time of the day. Only players, support staff and other accredited ground, catering and security staff should be permitted.

Only one entry point to the stadium should be accessible to control access to the ground. The ground staff should prepare the ground and the wickets during the time outside of the team training hours, read the BCCI guidelines. It is not yet clear but when domestic season starts, all government guidelines will have to be followed.