Team India have already been hit by a big blow with their premier off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin missing the flight to England after testing COVID-19 positive. Just hours after landing in England, photos of Team India captain Rohit Sharma and former captain Virat Kohli emerged as the duo met some enthusiastic fans in England.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) does not want to be caught napping in the UK and are likely to warn players from meeting fans and stepping out without masks. Last week, Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli got themselves clicked with fans in Leicester and London as India prepare for the warm-up match against Leicestershire County Cricket Club.
“The Covid threat is reduced in the UK. But still players should be more careful. We will ask the team to be a little careful,” said Arun Dhumal BCCI treasurer to InsideSport.
In the UK, COVID-19 is very much there with the country reporting over 10,000 new cases every day. Just to ensure safety of players, a COVID-19 positive result will put the player in 5-day isolation and that could rule him out of the Edgbaston Test.
The touring Indian side would play a four-day game and that provide them with a great opportunity to get accustomed to the conditions and the swinging ball. It is a 17-member squad. While all players have reached the UK, only Ashwin has not taken the plane because he tested positive for COVID. The management would hope he recovers in time and is available for the fifth Test.
Meanwhile, after IPL 2022, Ashwin had played a Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) League red-ball match where he had bowled 20 overs to get some long form game time. The rest of the Indian squad is already in Leicester and started training under the supervision of bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and batting coach Vikram Rathour.
Rahul Dravid, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have reached London after finishing the T20I assignment against South Africa and will travel to Leicester on Tuesday. The Ireland-bound squad under VVS Laxman will leave for Dublin on either June 23 or 24 as the team members have been given a three-day rest.
(with agency inputs)