Kolkata: The Covid-19 threat in Indian cricket team in Sri Lanka - apart from weakening the squad for the last two T20 Internationals, has also put a question mark over the travel plans of Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav to England to join India’s Test squad. The duo, who were supposed to fly out to the UK directly from Colombo, will now have to “continue to remain in isolation” at the team hotel after being identified as close contacts of allrounder Krunal Pandya - who had tested positive on Tuesday.
The Borad of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) has, in a statement on Wednesday, stated that the entire Indian squad, including Krunal, had returned negative tests on Tuesday, but the eight close contacts of Krunal would “continue to remain in isolation” at the team hotel. The eight players identified as close contacts of Krunal are Shaw, Yadav, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Ishan Kishan, Yuzvendra Chahal, Krishnappa Gowtham and Deepak Chahar.
Incidentally, the Covid-plagued white ball series in Colombo was delayed in early July as Sri Lankan assistant coach Grant Flower and the team analyst who had both tested positive upon returning from England tour had to isolate for 10 days. The players, who had been identified as the pair’s close contacts, had to isolate for a week - forcing Cricket Sri Lanka to put off the start of the series by nearly a week.
There was much drama early on Wednesday when Rahul Dravid, India’s Head Coach in Sri Lanka, was hard-pressed to field a decent playing XI as all those identified as close contacts of Krunal were also ruled out of the T20 series.
‘‘Based on the request of the Indian team management in Sri Lanka, the All-India Senior Selection Committee has named additions to India’s squad for the second and third T20Is. The five net bowlers – Ishan Porel, Sandeep Warrier, Arshdeep Singh, R. Sai Kishore and Simarjeet Singh - will now be part of the squad for the remaining T20Is,’’ the BCCI statement said.
“It was felt medically that some of the guys who were his (Krunal’s) close contacts shouldn’t be participating in the series,” Dravid told the official broadcasters.