At least two members of India’s touring contingent in the United Kingdom have been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and training assistant Dayanand Garani have contracted the virus during the Indian squad’s break after last month’s World Test Championship final loss to New Zealand.
Besides Pant and Garani, a BCCI statement confirmed that reserve opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha and bowling coach Bharat Arun have been isolated for having been identified as close contacts of Garani, a throwdown specialist.
As a result, India’s squad, which reassembled in London over the last couple of days, has travelled to Durham without these five individuals.
The BCCI statement added that Pant, who has been isolating on his own, was diagnosed on July 8 while Garani was confirmed to have been contracted COVID-19 on Wednesday.
While Pant will have to clear two successive negative RT-PCR tests, the other four who have stayed back at the team hotel in London will have to quarantine for 10 days.
It means that India may struggle to find a wicketkeeper for the warm-up match in Durham. K.L. Rahul may be forced to keep wickets against the Select County XI from July 20 ahead of the first Test in Nottingham on August 4.
It is understood that once Pant, who attended a Euro game at Wembley, was confirmed to have contracted the virus last week, three other players — a spinner, a pacer and a reserve pacer — served the isolation period before being cleared to enter the biosecure bubble and board the bus to Durham.
The Hindu on Monday had reached out to BCCI secretary Jay Shah and chief executive Hemang Amin to confirm whether four cricketers had been in isolation but the duo did not respond.
Interestingly, a day later, Shah sent an email to all the members of India’s contingent to take extreme precautions in the wake of the Delta variant outbreak in the UK.
However, the email was sent hours before the three-week break ended.
During the break, multiple players and support staff members attended marquee sporting events including Euro 2020 and the Wimbledon, which had large crowds. Some cricketers also travelled to Scotland for a break.
The BCCI statement confirmed that all members of the touring contingent were administered a second dose of the vaccine during the last three weeks.
Pant will have to clear two successive negative RT-PCR tests
The other four will have to be quarantined for 10 days
BCCI statement confirmed that all the members and their families have been administered second dose of vaccine