The Indians’ training session, one day off from the start of the fifth Test, has been canceled and the players have been asked to stay in their hotel rooms
In a development that could have a major impact on the fifth and final Test of India’s tour of England, in Manchester, one more member of India’s support staff has tested positive for Covid-19, and the Indian team’s training session the day before the start of the Test had to be canceled as a result. ESPNcricinfo understands that the Indian squad members have been asked to stay back in their hotel rooms till further notice.
The Indian squad members had a meeting on Thursday morning with the BCCI, and the board will now liaise with the ECB on the next course of action.
It has been learned that the latest positive case emerged after a fresh round of testing on Wednesday evening; the team had trained as scheduled on Wednesday morning. The entire Indian squad has since undergone a fresh round of testing – on Thursday morning. The results for these are awaited.
In case there are positive tests there, among the playing group, it could even affect the resumption of the 2021 IPL, which starts in the UAE on September 19, just five days after the scheduled end of the tour of England. The Indian players will fly out from Manchester to Dubai on September 15 according to the original travel plan.
Nitin Patel, the team physiotherapist who, along with Arun and Sridhar, was identified as Shastri’s immediate contact and was forced to isolate for a day after Shastri returned his first positive test, has returned a negative RT-PCR test since, and is with the team.
As per UK government rules, those who return positive RT-PCR tests have to isolate for ten days and return two negative tests, so Shastri, Arun and Sridhar will have to stay on in London even as the series concludes in Manchester.
Such was the situation that the second T20I had to be pushed back by a day, and even after that, India barely managed to field an XI.
More to follow…
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo