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Rishabh Pant contracts Covid-19, asymptomatic

He is quarantined at an acquaintance’s place and won’t be travelling to Durham along with the rest of the squad

SNS | London |

Rishabh Pant, who is part of India’s touring party in England, has tested positive for Covid-19. He will not travel with the team to Durham as it reassembles ahead of next month’s Test series against England.

A BCCI source confirmed that Pant had tested positive and had been in isolation for the past eight days. He is, according to the source, 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,” the source said without divulging when the 23-year-old would join the squad.

Pant had visited the Euro 2020 pre-quarter final between England and Germany on 29 June and had later tweeted pictures of himself with a few of his friends sitting in the crowd following a decision by the BCCI allowing players to visit sporting venues and intermingle with crowds during a three-week hiatus when the World Test Championship final against New Zealand concluded.

The incident has triggered anxiety and criticism over BCCI’s decision for allowing players to be peripatetic which could endanger the health safety of the whole team.

Hanuma Vihari and Jasprit Bumrah are the other players to have visited the Wembley to watch Euro 2020 football.

Team coach Ravi Shastri and premier off-spinner R Ashwin, who played a County Championship match for Surrey this week, had visited Wimbledon in the break.

Although the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to comment on the matter, reports have said that Pant tested about a week back and will be tested again on 18 July.

The development almost coincided with BCCI secretary Jay Shah’s cautionary email to the Indian contingent, warning them about the rising cases of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom and urged players to “avoid” crowded places as Covishield, the vaccine that has been administered to the players and other members of the team, only provides protection, not full immunity against the virus.

In fact, Shah’s letter had specifically told players to avoid going to Wimbledon and the Euros, both of which recently concluded in the UK.

Pant will not be joining the team in the camp in Durham that begins on Thursday. It is understood that he has been afflicted by the Delta variant.

The Indian cricket squad, which had reached England in early June and then played the World Test Championship (WTC) final last month, was on a three-week break, during which players were free to go anywhere they wanted as England opened up following lockdown.

The Indian team was not scheduled to play any warm-up against any county team due to the ongoing pandemic. However, BCCI’s request for a warm-up game following the dismal show in WTC final is being mulled over by the ECB.

It will be interesting to see if the ECB organises a warm-up game against a county XI and whether they take any measures for it.

The Indian team is scheduled to play a five-Test series against England in August-September.