BCCI to send five reserve players to U-19 World Cup

On the morning of their second group match against Ireland on Wednesday, the Indian team was hit by Covid scare with six players placed under isolation.

Published: 21st January 2022 01:29 PM  |   Last Updated: 21st January 2022 01:29 PM   |  A+A-

Indian U-19 team has suffered a big blow with 5 members testing positive for Covid. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: With five members of the Under-19 team currently down with Covid in Trinidad & Tobago, the Board of Control for Cricket in India has decided to send five reserve players to the Caribbean immediately. It is understood that the BCCI took the decision after a formal request was made by the team after taking stock of the situation.

The five players include two batters, one wicketkeeper, one all-rounder and a pacer. They are Udhay Saharan, Abhishek Porel (wk), Rishith Reddy, Ansh Gosai and PM Singh Rathore. The BCCI’s logistics team is working on their travel plans and will undergo six-day isolation period upon their arrival in Antigua. There is a strong possibility that India’s quarterfinals match will now be played January 29 allowing players enough time to recover.

On the morning of their second group match against Ireland on Wednesday, the Indian team was hit by Covid scare with six players placed under isolation. The entire team was tested again on the same evening and it is reliably learnt that there are no more fresh cases in the camp and their last group match against Uganda is set to go ahead as schedule on Saturday as India now have 12 players after pacer Vasu Vats, who was placed under isolation with symptoms, testing negative for Covid.

However, a final decision will be taken only by late Friday evening (IST) as the International Cricket Council is monitoring the situation closely. As previously reported by this newspaper, the Indian team is understood to be unhappy with the relaxed bio-bubble in place and have communicated to the BCCI.

The ICC had opted for a relaxed bubble keeping the mental and physical well-being of the players. “Having a relaxed bubble is a good move. But the ICC should have ensured the hotels are exclusive only to the teams. The players are using the same lift and entry/exit points as other guests, which is bound to be risky,” a board official stated.

VVS Laxman, who in the head of cricket at the National Cricket Academy, is with the team in Caribbean and is understood to be overseeing the situation. In fact, the former India batsman came out with special praise for the team to take the field against Ireland after five were ruled out on the morning of the game.

“Tremendous show of character and maturity from the U-19 team. With just 11 players available for today's game, to go out and express themselves the way they did was phenomenal. Can't say how proud I am of them! The Ireland match is one they will cherish for life,” Laxman tweeted.

With five players under isolation for 10 days, it is understood that Laxman spoke to the BCCI officials and selectors on Thursday evening, following which a decision was made to send five players. The five replacements have been picked on their basis of their performance in the Vinoo Mankad and Challenger Trophy. Porel, in fact, is second in the list of run-scorers in the Cooch Behar Trophy with 708 runs in five matches for Bengal.


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