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COVID hits Team India: Pant, support staff test positive

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Laxmi Negi
Last updated on: July 15, 2021 20:03 IST
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Bowling coach Bharath Arun, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and standby opener Abhimanyu Easwaran were put in isolation for having come in contact with throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani, who also tested positive.

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant with a friend at the Euro 2020 round of 16 match between England and Germany at the Wembley Stadium in London, on June 29, 2021. Photograph: Kind Courtesy Rishabh Pant/Instagram

Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and training assistant/net bowler Dayanand Garani tested positive for COVID-19, while three others were placed in precautionary isolation as the dreaded virus hit the Indian cricket team ahead of next month's Test series against hosts England.

 

Bowling coach Bharath Arun, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and standby opener Abhimanyu Easwaran were put in isolation for having come in contact with Garani.

"Pant, who had not stayed in the team hotel during the break period, tested positive on 8th July. He is asymptomatic and currently undergoing self-isolation at the place where he reported positive. He is being closely monitored by the BCCI Medical Team and is on his way to recovery. He will be able to join the squad in Durham after returning two negative RT-PCR tests," BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a media release on Thursday.

"The BCCI Medical Team have identified B. Arun, Bowling Coach, Wriddhiman Saha and Abhimanyu Easwaran as close contacts of Garani, who was in the team hotel when he tested positive following RT-PCR tests on 14th July. The four personnel will undergo 10-day isolation and will remain in their respective rooms in the team hotel in London."

It is learnt Arun, Easwaran and Saha have all tested negative but have to follow the UK Government's Health Safety Protocol.

All five are currently in London while the rest are reaching Durham on Friday after reassembling from a 20-day break. London to Durham is a five-hour bus journey.

IMAGE: India's training assistant/net bowler Dayanand Garani. Photograph: Kind Courtesy Dayanand Garani/Instagram

Pant and Saha could both miss the practice match scheduled to start on July 20 against a combined county side. In that case KL Rahul will keep against Combined Counties.

A BCCI source confirmed that Pant has been in isolation for the past eight days, while pointing out that he is asymptomatic at this point.

"He is in quarantine at an acquaintance's place and won't be travelling with the team to Durham on Thursday," he said without divulging when the 23-year-old will join the squad.

However, he is likely to undergo a COVID-19 test in the next couple of days.

The rest of the squad, sans Pant and the injured Shubman Gill, left for Durham on Thursday from London.

Gill had sustained a leg injury earlier this month and the young batsman had left the team's bio-bubble.

The development comes close on the heels of BCCI secretary Jay Shah sending an e-mail to the Indian contingent, warning it about the rising cases of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom.

The break was given to the players after the World Test Championship against New Zealand, which the team lost last month.

It is understood that Pant has been afflicted by the Delta variant which has led to rising number of cases in England.

He was seen attending a Euro championship football match last month and had even posted pictures on his social media accounts.

He underwent a test after experiencing low grade fever.

Shah, in his letter, told the players to avoid crowded places as Covishield, the vaccine which has been given to the team, only provides protection, not full immunity against the virus.

In fact, Shah's letter had specifically stated that players should avoid going to the Wimbledon and Euro 2020 matches, both events which were recently held in London.

"The entire Indian contingent including travelling family members and caretakers were administered with the second dose of covid vaccine earlier this month in London. To mitigate any further risks, the Indian contingent is taking the Lateral Flow Test on a daily basis.

Team India will begin their preparations for the upcoming five-match Test series against England with a three-day warm-up game at Emirates Riverside against County XI starting on Tuesday," Shah stated in the media release.

The Indian team will to take on England in a five-match Test series, starting on August 4. It will play a practice game starting July 20 as a build-up to the high-intensity series.

The India-England showdown marks the beginning of the second cycle of the ICC World Test Championship.

Recently, the England team too was hit by the virus and was forced to field an altogether different XI in a limited-overs match against Pakistan.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Laxmi Negi© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

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