A day after the final Test of the England vs India series in Manchester was postponed indefinitely because of Covid-19 fears in the visitors’ camp, several players from both teams are flying out to the UAE to link up with their respective IPL 2021 squads. Mumbai Indians were the first, flying Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Suryakumar Yadav from Manchester to Abu Dhabi in a charter flight. Royal Challengers Bangalore are scheduled to do the same later in the day for the pair of Virat Kohli and Mohammed Siraj, who will be going to Dubai.
“The trio [Rohit, Bumrah and Suryakumar], along with their families, arrived today morning and will now undergo 6 days hard quarantine, starting today as per the IPL’s guidelines,” Mumbai Indians said in a statement on Saturday. “All members had returned negative RT PCR results before departure. A new RT PCR test was undertaken upon arrival at Abu Dhabi, which are negative as well.”
A similar statement from the Royal Challengers, also on Saturday, explained that Kohli and Siraj would be flying separately from the others as the franchise believed in “keeping safety and security of our players as the utmost priority”.
The rest of the players from both India and England are expected to take a commercial flight to the UAE on Saturday. All players arriving from Manchester are required to undergo a six-day quarantine in their hotel rooms before joining the bio-bubbles of their respective teams.
According to the earlier plan, the players were supposed to join their IPL teams on September 15, the day after the scheduled close of the final Test of the Pataudi Trophy. However, the Indian players were reluctant to take the field for the game after assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar tested positive for Covid-19 on Wednesday. The players expressed strong reservations in their discussions with the BCCI, which was relayed to ECB, following which the discussions between the two boards stretched on for around three hours on Friday, after which the Test was called off, with the possibility of it being rescheduled still on the table.
It is understood that one of the major reasons for the Indians opting against playing the Test was the enclosed dressing room at Old Trafford. That aside, since Parmar was treating a large number of players, it was difficult to determine who his close contacts were.
In their discussions with the BCCI, the players also expressed a concern about the situation having an impact on their families – many of the India players were in England with their families, including Kohli, Rohit, Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.