Wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has tested positive for COVID-19 in the ongoing tour of England and will not travel with the team to Durham as it reassembles for next month’s Test series against the hosts. A Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) source confirmed that it was Pant who tested positive and was 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,” he said without divulging when the 23-year-old will join the squad.
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,” BCCI Vice President Rajiv Shukla told news agency PTI.
“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 REuro championship match last month and had even posted pictures on his social media accounts.
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. It will play a practice game starting July 20 as a build-up to the high-intensity series.
The India-England showdown marks the beginning of the second cycle of the World Test Championship. Recently, the England team too was hit by the virus and was forced to field ab altogether different XI in a limited-overs match against Pakistan.