By Khurram Habib
New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) Test wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant and training assistant Dayanand Garani have tested positive for Covid-19, while bowling coach Bharat Arun, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and Abhimanyu Easwaran have also been isolated as India’s tour of England suffered a setback. for a training camp for the five-test series starting next month.
The news of positive tests of Pant and Garani and the isolation of Arun, Saha and Easwaran was confirmed through a statement from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), whose poor approach to managing the three-week break after the World Cup in Testing (WTC) final resulted in this.
“Pant, who had not stayed at the team hotel during the break period, tested positive on 8 July. He is asymptomatic and is currently undergoing self-isolation at the site where he reported positive. He is being closely monitored by BCCI’s medical team and is on the road to recovery. He will be able to join the team in Durham (for the team camp) after returning two negative RT-PCR tests, ”said a statement from BCCI.
BCCI’s medical team has identified B. Arun, bowling coach, [wicketkeeper] Wriddhiman Saha and Abhimanyu Easwaran as close contacts of Garani, who was at the team hotel when he tested positive after RT-PCR tests on 14 July. The four employees will be isolated for 10 days and remain in their respective rooms at the team hotel in London, ”the statement added.
The positive tests have brought BCCI under control for its decision to allow players to visit sporting venues as well as other public venues in the UK and mingle with audiences during their three-week break following the WTC final.
The lack of precautions in a country opening up after lockdown and seeing an increase in cases, including the Delta variant of the virus, is shocking given that India have to play a five-Test series from 4 August.
A loss of a key player like Pant can hurt India badly.
“He will undergo a new test in a few days,” BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla told IANS, adding that the rest of the team is OK.
“He lived with his relatives during the break, and during this period he got the virus. He was away from the other members of the squad, ”Shukla added.
Pant had visited the Euro 2020 final before the quarter between England and Germany on June 29 and had later tweeted photos of himself with a couple of his friends / family sitting in the crowd.
“Good experience of seeing [emoticon: football] [emoticons: flags of England and Germany], ”Pant had tweeted with pictures from Wembley Stadium where the match was played.
Hanuma Vihari and Jasprit Bumrah were the other players who had visited Wembley to watch Euro 2020 football and sent pictures from there. Team coach Ravi Shastri and premier off-spinner R Ashwin, who played a County Championship match for Surrey this week, had visited Wimbledon during the break.
Asked if it made sense for BCCI to let the players interfere with the public, a senior BCCI official said the players needed some time off.
“It would not have been good to keep them isolated or biobubble for three weeks. They were in isolation ahead of the World Cup test final and remained in biobubble through it. They then go back into the bio-bubble from today (Thursday, July 15). It would have been mentally drained for them, ”the official said.
Shukla added that BCCI has issued a consultation for the rest of the trip.
“The BCCI secretary (Jay Shah) has issued an advice to all team members to take precautions and not venture out,” Shukla added.
But it looks a little late.
The news of positive tests and isolation came the day the Indian team traveled to Durham for a camp after the end of their break. The team will play their only warm-up, a hastily arranged three-day affair against a County XI from July 20 on the Riverside grounds. The board said the fight is on track. But how many will take the field remains to be seen.
kh / bsk