Dubai: Cricketers who played in a tournament in the UAE were caught up in a storm in India owing to strict coronavirus tests being conducted on those arriving in the country from abroad.
More than 25 cricketers from the Raigad district in the state of Maharahstra, known for producing some of the world’s best tennis-ball cricket players, were in the UAE to play in the 10PL tournament that concluded on Friday at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. On returning to India, reports emerged that they were accused of fleeing from a hospital in Navi Mumbai after being kept in isolation following coronavirus tests.
It all began after a local television reported that “11 players who had gone to Dubai to play cricket matches have fled from a Navi Mumbai hospital”. The report also stated that were sent to quarantine, and that they had evaded security and were absconding.
Soon many newspaper websites too broke the news and noted that the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation along with the local police had swung into action. They added that after launching a search operation for the 11 people, they had been arrested.
However, when Gulf News contacted Ankur Singh, who hails from Raighad and captained the India team in the match against Pakistan in Sharjah, and also lifted the winners’ trophy of the 10PL tournament, he said: “We are shocked by the news that we ran away. It is nothing but fake news. We are a group of 25 cricketers and after getting cleared at the Mumbai airport after arriving from Dubai, we went to the hospital in our district in different groups to ensure that we are safe from the virus infection. After the tests, all of us went home. But as soon as we reached home, many of us were contacted to return to the hospital, and we did that. We did not run away. We were never asked to remain in isolation; in fact, they had told us that we will be informed of the results.w”
The hospital authorities had apparently informed the police that 11 persons suspected of coronavirus infection had fled after their tests. When Gulf News contacted Abdul Latif Khan, organiser of the 10PL tournament, he said: “None of the players would have fled or absconded because these players live in Raigad and are very popular cricketers there. Almost everyone there knows where they live. Where will they abscond or flee when their homes are in Raigad, and why should they flee when their results are awaited?”
Singh also told Gulf News, “We are all in the hospital now, and here there are no facilities for us to even sit. Since we are above 25 years, we are all waiting in an open area close to the hospital.”