London, July 15: Covid 19 has spread its tentacles in India team in England. Wicketkeeper batsman Rishabh Pant and throwdown specialist Dayanand Garani have been tested positive for Covid 19 on July 8 and July 14 respectively.
While bowling coach Bharat Arun, reserve wicketkeeper batsman Wriddhiman Saha and stand-by Abhimanyu Easwaran have been placed under precautionary isolation. However, they have been returned negative from a Covid 19 test.
All the team members are currently in London while the rest are reaching Durham on Thursday night (July 15) after reassembling from a 20-day break.
"Pant, who had not stayed in the team hotel during the break period, tested positive on 8th July. He is asymptomatic and currently undergoing self-isolation at the place where he reported positive. He is being closely monitored by the BCCI Medical Team and is on his way to recovery. He will be able to join the squad in Durham after returning two negative RT-PCR tests," said the BCCI in a media release.
"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.
"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," stated the BCCI.
Pant and Saha will miss the practice match scheduled to start on July 20 against a combined county side. A BCCI source confirmed to PTI that Pant has been in isolation for the past eight days. He is asymptomatic at this point. "He is in quarantine at an acquaintance's place and won't be travelling with the team to Durham on Thursday," he said.
However, he is likely to undergo a COVID-19 test on Sunday. The rest of the squad, sans Pant and the injured Shubman Gill, left for Durham 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. The break was given to the players after the World Test Championship against New Zealand, which the team lost last month.
"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," said BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla.
"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. He was seen attending a Euro 2020 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.