Team India’s Covid Scare: Pant, support staff Garani test positive, 3 more isolated in London
New Delhi/London, July 15 (PTI): Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant and throwdown specialist 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, reserve wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha were put in isolation for having come in contact with Garani along with standby opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, whose inclusion had raked up a recent storm. Garani’s Covid report came this morning.
The team will undergo daily Covid tests from now on.
“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,” BCCI sectetary Jay Shah said in an official statement.
“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,” he added.
It is learnt the Arun, Easwaran and Saha have all tested negative but have to follow the UK Government’s Health Safety Protocol for the 10-day isolation period.
All five are currently in London while the rest are reaching Durham this evening after reassembling from a 20-day break.
“The four personnel will undergo 10-day isolation and will remain in their respective rooms in the team hotel in London,” the BCCI said.
The Board said that all travelling family members and caretakers with the team have also been 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,” the media statement from Shah said, referring to the daily testing mechanism which can give results in 15-30 minutes.
Pant, Easwaran and Saha will miss the practice match scheduled to start on July 20 against a combined county side with both Bengal players along with Arun in 10-day isolation.
Pant will also need recovery time and won’t play the game.
In that case, KL Rahul will keep against Combined Counties from July 20-22.
It can be assumed that Pant, who got his second vaccine shot on July 7, had contracted the Delta-3 variant prior to the vaccination.
In case of Wriddhiman, he has already battled Covid during the IPL while Arun, a very key member of the support staff had to be isolated due to pure bad luck.
Shubman Gill, who had sustained a shin splint injury earlier this month, has 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.
Pant was seen attending a Euro championship 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 Championships, both of which recently concluded there.
The Indian team is due to take on England in a five-match Test series starting 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 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.