After Rishabh Pant, the Indian team’s throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani has tested positive for COVID-19 in England ahead of the Test series. BCCI confirmed that Wriddhiman Saha, bowling coach Bharat Arun and standby opener Abhimanyu Easwaran have been isolated as they are deemed close contacts, and will not join the team bubble in Durham.
“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," BCCI said in a statement.
“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."
Earlier in the day, it emerged that Pant had tested positive for the virus and is currently in home isolation at his relative’s place. He will be able to join the squad after two negative RT-PCR tests.
The team was given a three-week break following the completion of the ICC World Test Championship final, which they lost to New Zealand. Players and their families were free to move around the country before they reassembled in Durham today.
The rest of the squad, sans Pant, the injured Shubman Gill and the staff members in isolation, 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.
“Yes, one player has tested positive but he has been in isolation for the last eight days. He was not staying in any hotel with the team, so no other player has been affected," BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla had told PTI.
“As of now no other player has tested positive. Also you must be aware our secretary Jay Shah has written a letter to all players to maintain protocols," Shukla added.
It is understood that Pant has been afflicted by the Delta variant which has led to rising number of cases in England.
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.