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, 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 vaccination 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 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.
Warm-up game behind closed doors
Durham: Warwickshire captain Willfred Rhodes will lead a 14-member Select County XI in a
three-day warm-up game against India at the Riverside Side ground here from July 20-22. The match will be played behind closed doors.