CHENNAI: Kolkata Knight Riders spinner Varun Chakravarthy is still not fit for intense training after his recovery from COVID-19 as he is still feeling "weakness and dizziness".
Chakaravarthy was the first player in IPL to test COVID-19 positive and within a couple of days, the tournament was suspended because of multiple cases inside the bio-bubble across franchises.
The 29-year-old Chakravarthy recovered on May 11 and is currently recuperating at his Chennai residence.
"I'm now doing well and recovering at home. I still haven't been able to resume training full tilt because of post-Covid-19 symptoms. Although I don't have cough or fever, there is weakness and dizziness," Chakravarthy told ESPNCricinfo.
"The loss of smell and taste is still intermittent, but I'm confident of being able to resume training soon."
Having experienced the effect of the dreaded virus first hand, Chakravarthy's advice to all athletes is to give their bodies at least two weeks of complete rest after recovery before resuming any training.
"The thing I've learnt and would like to tell other athletes and individuals recovering from Covid-19 is to give your body at least two weeks to fully recover after you test negative. Also, even after people test negative, my advice is for them to continue to mask up so that you keep others around you safe."
With India facing an unprecedented health crisis after the second wave of the pandemic hit the country and thousands lost their lives, it's a mental battle for anybody who tested positive for COVID-19.
"The toughest thing about contracting Covid-19 is keeping your mind distracted, and away from all that was happening. Because you are alone, away from your family and team-mates. To keep myself occupied, I read books by Osho to give me a sense of calm."
Chakravarthy first felt the symptoms on May 1 when he got tired quite quickly at the training session.
"As to how it all started, I felt something was slightly off on May 1. I felt tired. There was no cough whatsoever, but I had little fever, so I didn't attend our training session."
"I immediately informed the team management and they arranged for an RT-PCR test quickly. I was immediately quarantined and isolated, away from the rest of my KKR team-mates, in a separate wing of the hotel. Soon, I found out that I'd tested positive," he recalled.
"My first reaction was feeling worried, not only for myself, but also for what was happening around us in the country. Even a few of my family members were affected by Covid-19. It wasn't easy, but as professionals we had to find ways to go about our work in the best possible way."
The OTT (over-the-top) platforms like Netflix and Amazon kept him busy during isolation as his family handled the situation "calmly and without panic."
"The KKR franchise was very supportive. They went to the extent of even having someone from the team management stay back with me, even after the IPL was postponed and left only after I returned two negative tests and got back home."
"Shah Rukh Khan (Knight Riders' principal owner) spoke to all the players individually and motivated us."
Post recovery, Chakravarthy didn't forget to mention how grateful he felt, considering that so many families are facing tragedies of epic proportions.
"I'm relieved to have recovered fully, but it's tough to see so many people losing their lives. I realise how fortunate I've been to receive good treatment in this tough time. I'm just grateful for everything and pray everyone recovers and get back to their families."