London, Sep 5: Indian camp has been hit with a big blow in London as head coach Ravi Shastri's latest COVID-19 test report came positive on Saturday (September 4), following which four members of the support staff have been put in isolation.
Just before the start of the play on day four of the ongoing fourth Test match between India and England, BCCI apprised about the development in an official release on Sunday (September 5).
Apart from Shastri, Team India's bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel have been put in isolation.
"The BCCI Medical Team has isolated Ravi Shastri, Head Coach, B Arun, Bowling Coach, R Sridhar, Fielding Coach and Nitin Patel, Physiotherapist as a precautionary measure after Shastri's lateral flow test returned positive last evening," said the official communique from the BCCI secretary Jay Shah.
All four members have undergone RT-PCR testing and shall remain in the team hotel and not travel with Team India until confirmation from the medical team.
Meanwhile, the rest of the members of the Indian contingent underwent two Lateral Flow Tests - one last night and another this morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for Day 4 of the ongoing fourth Test at The Oval.
There is no threat to the ongoing fourth Test against England as all the other playing members have tested negative. India lead England by 171 runs in the second innings at the close of play on day three.
Assistant coach Vikram Rathour will be performing the duties of the head coach in the absence of Shastri but the biggest challenge the Indian camp will face is the unavailability of the physiotherapist during the match. It will be interesting to see who will come out on the pitch to attend to the players in case of an injury or concussion to Indian players.
The team is set to travel to Manchester on Tuesday and if these four isolated members test positive in RT-PCR, they will have to undergo 10-day room isolation followed by two negative RT-PCR results.
The lateral flow test always doesn't give accurate results as it is a Rapid Antigen Test (RAT) and it is a form of self-test with the kit being provided to each member of the side.
The Indian contingent has been carrying out lateral flow tests every single day since Rishabh Pant tested positive for COVID during the three-week break. It is understood that Shastri may have got the symptoms after attending his book launch event in the team hotel where outside guests were also allowed.
"Since there is no restrictions in the UK, outside guests were allowed during Shastri's book launch party. These people also were his closest contacts, so it has now led to mandatory isolation," a BCCI source was quoted by PTI.
"You feel for Bharath Arun. This is the second time, that he has to be isolated because someone else had tested positive. Last time it was Dayanand Garani, the masseur, who came in contact with Arun and later tested positive," he added.
Earlier in July, India's limited-overs side was hit with coronavirus when nine members of the second string Indian side were put in isolation during the T20I series against Sri Lanka after Krunal Pandya tested COVID-19 positive.
(With PTI inputs)