Rajasthan Royals’ Chris Morris revealed that hotels turned chaotic as soon as two KKR players tested positive and added that there was panic all over the place, particularly amongst the English players. Morris further revealed that he helped young Gerald Coetzee stay sane during the panic times.
The 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) faced no problems for 25 days but all hell broke loose on Monday, May 3. On the morning of the KKR vs RCB game, it was revealed that two KKR players - Varun Chakravarthy and Sandeep Warrier - had tested positive for Covid-19 and this led to the subsequent postponement of the clash. Three hours later, two more Covid-19 cases emerged from the CSK camp and on the very next day, two more Covid-19 cases emerged from SRH and DC respectively, due to which the BCCI called the tournament off.
Chris Morris, who was stuck in a hotel when the scary chain of events unfolded, revealed that it was full-blooded chaos once the first case emerged. Morris, who is now back home in South Africa, revealed that there was panic amongst English cricketers, who did not know how they were going to serve their quarantine period back home.
"Look, obviously I'm relieved. The moment we heard that, when players are testing positive, inside the bubble, then everyone starts asking questions. The alarm bells definitely started going off for all of us,” TOI quoted Morris as saying.
"By Monday when they postponed that game (between Kolkata and Royal Challengers Bangalore), we knew the tournament was under pressure to continue."
On Tuesday, May 4th, the tournament was called off after it emerged that the bubble had been breached, and Morris revealed that it was Kumar Sangakkara who broke the news to him.
"I was chatting to our team doctor, whose room was across the hallway from my mine in the hotel, and Kumar (Sangakarra, the Royals' head coach) came around the corner, and drew his finger across his throat, and then we knew it was over," said Morris.
"And then it was chaos! The England guys especially were panicking because they needed to isolate in hotels in England first, and apparently there weren't any rooms."
For many it was a scary experience, but, according to Morris, the chain of events turned out to be a scarring one for young Gerald Coetzee. Signed as a replacement for Liam Livingstone, the 20-year-old pacer served his quarantine period, but then, instead of playing, saw the Covid-chaos unravel right in front of his eyes. Morris revealed that he did everything he could to ensure that the youngster felt comfortable in a very uncomfortable situation.
"I know poor Gerald was panicking a bit, I mean he's only 20 and all this is going on.
"I tried to keep him under my wing a bit and made sure he was ready when the 12.30am pick up came at the hotel. It was eerie, it was just a handful of us in that whole hotel at the time."
The IPL came under immense criticism as the tournament was being staged at a time where people in the country were dying on the streets, and Morris admitted that there was logic behind the criticism. He described the situation as a ‘two-fold thing’.
"For me, this was always a two-fold thing; on the one hand we're playing a tournament, all happy and smiling in a bubble, while outside so many people are suffering," Morris said.
"On the flip side of it, there was the fact that by playing, we were ensuring people actually stayed at home, watched us and at least had something to smile about or something else to think about - even if it was being unhappy with how we played in a game - for three hours each night."