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COVID scare for Team India: Pant, throwdown specialist test positive, three more isolated in London

Rishabh Pant and throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani tested positive. Their close contacts -- Wriddhiman Saha, reserve opener Abhimanyu Easwaran and bowling coach Bharat Arun -- are in isolation.

Published: 15th July 2021 11:52 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th July 2021 08:11 PM   |  A+A-

Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant

Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant (Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Two members of rhe Indian team have tested positive for Covid-19 and three others have been placed under isolation in London as the visitors departed to Durham on Thursday to play in a practice match against a County XI. The two who tested positive are wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani. Their close contacts -- Wriddhiman Saha, reserve opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, and bowling coach Bharat Arun -- have all been placed in isolation.

The development comes after the team assembled in London over the weekend after a two-week break that started at the end of the World Test Championship final. Since the majority of the squad had been living in a bio-bubble environment over the past year, the BCCI had granted them permission to take their families and enjoy a break period ahead of another gruelling six months.

When the number of Covid-19 cases spiked in the UK, BCCI secretary Jay Shah had asked the team members to take all precautions and avoid visiting crowded places. But even before the circular was sent, a few of the players and support staff were seen at Wimbledon and at the Wembley Stadium, which hosted several group matches as well as the last three knockouts of Euro 2020. Pant is likely to come out of isolation on Sunday and can travel to Durham provided he tests negative.

It is understood that even before the team assembled in London, Pant had tested positive for Covid-19 on July 8 and was serving isolation at a private place, away from the team. The wicketkeeper was among those players and staff who recently got their second dose of the vaccine in the UK last week. It is learnt that two other players and a support staff, who came in contact with Pant, underwent mandatory isolation and were cleared to travel for Durham only after testing negative.

However, the fresh development with regards to Dayanand has left many in the BCCI concerned. It is understood that the throwdown specialist, who was asymptomatic, tested positive in one of the routine RT-PCR tests in the team hotel on Wednesday, following which his close contacts too have been put under isolation at a hotel in London. In the case of Arun, who received both shots of the vaccine before leaving to the UK, there is a chance he can end his isolation period as early as Sunday, provided he tests negative. All three, in fact, tested negative in the tests taken on Thursday.

Although BCCI officials were tight-lipped, there are indications that the BCCI might send additional players as backups as any further rise in the numbers will severely affect the team. The BCCI and the ECB will now conduct daily tests in the coming days in Durham as there are also doubts whether the practice game will go ahead as scheduled from July 20 at Chester-le-Street. Sources in the BCCI revealed that they will take a call depending on the day-to-day situation.

Indian team members testing positive for Covid-19 is among the fresh setbacks that the game has been witnessing in England in recent weeks. After the recently concluded limited-overs series against Sri Lanka, the England Cricket Board revealed that seven of their members tested positive and it had to field a completely new team for the ongoing series against Pakistan. A couple of Sri Lankan members who were part of the tour to England tested positive after reaching Colombo, pushing back the limited-overs series against India by a week.



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