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BCCI confirms India player tests positive in Eng, kept in isolation (2nd Ld)

By Khurram Habib

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) The Indian cricket board on Thursday confirmed that a player from the Indian Test squad in England has tested positive for Covid-19 and has been kept in isolation. The player — which sources say is Rishabh Pant — will undergo another test after a couple of days.

Asked by IANS about the Covid-19 case in the team, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC)) vice-president Rajiv Shukla refused to divulge the name of the player but confirmed that a player has tested positive for Covid-19.

“One player has tested positive and has been kept in isolation. Today (Thursday, July 15) is the eighth day after the report of him testing positive came out. He will undergo another test after a couple of days,” Shukla told IANS before adding that the rest of the squad is fine since the affected player was staying with acquaintances.

“He was staying with his relatives in the break and during that period caught the virus. He was away from the other members of the squad, which is why it hasn’t affected the team and it is not isolation. The affected player is asymptomatic,” added Shukla.

The Board vice-president confirmed that the affected player is staying with his relatives in isolation and won’t travel to Durham, where the remaining squad will assemble for a camp beginning Thursday (July 15).

The positive test, however, has brought the BCCI under scrutiny for its decision to allow players to visit sporting venues as well as other public places in England and mingle with crowd during their three-week break after WTC final.

The lack of precautions in a country that is opening up after lockdown and seeing a rise in cases, is shocking considering that India are due to play a five-Test series from August 4.

A loss of a key player like Pant can hurt India badly.

Pant had visited the Euro 2020 pre-quarter final between England and Germany on June 29 and had later tweeted pictures of himself with a few of his friends/relatives sitting in the crowd.

“Good experience watching [emoticon: football] [emoticons: flags of England and Germany],” Pant had tweeted with pictures from the Wembley Stadium where the match was played.

Hanuma Vihari and Jasprit Bumrah are the other players to have visited Wembley to watch Euro 2020 football. 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 was sensible on the part of the BCCI to let players mingle with the public during the break, a senior BCCI official said the players needed to be given some time off.

“It wouldn’t have been good to keep them in isolation or bio-bubble for three weeks. They were in isolation prior to the World Test Championship final and remained in bio-bubble through it. They then again go into bio-bubble from today (Thursday, July 15). It would have been mentally draining for them,” said the official.

It seems the BCCI has sprung into action immediately after the emergence of the Covid-19 case in the squad.

“The BCCI secretary (Jay Shah) has issued an advisory to all squad members to take precautions and not venture out,” said Shukla further.



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