World Test Championship final: Team India picked, lobbying on to decide quarantine norms

India though included KL Rahul, who underwent surgery for appendicitis, and Wriddhiman Saha, who is recovering from Covid-19, but the duo will have to clear fitness tests.

Published: 07th May 2021 09:10 PM  |   Last Updated: 07th May 2021 09:10 PM   |  A+A-

India skipper Virat Kohli (L) and England captain Joe Root

India skipper Virat Kohli (L) and England captain Joe Root (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Hardik Pandya and Kuldeep Yadav were the notable omissions from India's 20-member squad for the World Test Championship final and the five Tests against England that commences on August 4 in Nottingham.

India though included KL Rahul, who underwent surgery for appendicitis, and Wriddhiman Saha, who is recovering from Covid-19, but the duo will have to clear fitness tests.

The selection panel headed by Chetan Sharma by and large retained the same set of players who made history in Australia this January and followed it up with a series win over England at home. The five-member panel also kept their faith in Mayank Agarwal, who after struggling in Australia, lost his spot to Shubman Gill at the top.

Prithvi Shaw, who was back amongst the runs had been tipped by many to get the nod, but it is understood that his lack of game time with the red-ball went against him.

The 20-member squad and support staff led by head coach Ravi Shastri are expected to assemble in Mumbai by May last week, where they will undergo a week's quarantine and undergo two or three Covid tests. 

With India currently in UK's travel red-list, the BCCI is not keen on taking any chances and will not entertain any requests of home quarantine from any of the players.

Instead, all are expected to assemble in Mumbai by May 24 with a Covid negative report in hand. They will be kept in hard quarantine for a week and have to test negative for Covid-19 twice or thrice before boarding the flight to the UK on June 2. 

The women's team, scheduled to play one Test and a limited-overs series against their English counterparts, will also travel with the men's team. The point of entry in the UK is yet to be decided.

Indian citizens are barred from entering the UK but elite sportspersons are allowed entry provided they undergo 10-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel. It is learnt that the BCCI and ECB will request the local authorities to keep the hard quarantine days to three as they are spending one-week isolation in Mumbai. 

"Negotiations are on to allow players to train and practice after three days while continuing to be under quarantine. We did this in Australia too. And hopefully, we can get to do the same in the UK too," sources tracking the developments told The New Indian Express.

There is confidence in the board circles that the norms will be relaxed as everyone heading to the UK will be vaccinated by then. 

Meanwhile, the BCCI is also waiting to hear from the ECB on whether the players can bring their families. 

With the Covid situation dire in India, players are keen to take their families to the UK as it will at least keep their mind focussed on cricket rather than on the situation back home. But whether the UK authorities clear this request remains to be seen as the privilege extended to sportspersons may not be extended to their families. 

In case, it is cleared, the BCCI and ECB have to find a way to work out a model where they will be able to quarantine and join the players later on. 

As reported by The New Indian Express earlier, Indian players are likely to get a break from June 22 to July 8 in the UK.

Squad: Kohli (C), Rahane (vc), Rohit, Gill, Agarwal, Pujara, Vihari, Pant (wk), Ashwin, Jadeja, Axar, Washington, Bumrah, Ishant, Shami, Siraj, Shardul, Umesh, Rahul*, Saha* (wk). *subject to fitness clearance.

Standby players: Abhimanyu Easwaran, Prasidh Krishna, Avesh Khan, Arzan Nagwaswalla.


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