AS the Indian team underwent its first practice session in England on Monday with most of their premier players turning up for training with the red ball, Ravichandran Ashwin was a notable absentee. The Indian Express understands that the off-spinner has been infected with Covid-19 and couldn’t board the flight to England a few days ago.
There is also no clarity on whether Ashwin will be boarding a flight in time to be available for the rescheduled Test against England at Edgbaston, Birmingham, starting July 1.
The Indian team captained by Rohit Sharma flew to London to complete the series they lead 2-1 ahead of the final Test.
As per Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) rules, all players had to undergo RT-PCR Tests once they flew from their respective homes. It is learnt that Ashwin’s test result returned positive and he is undergoing home isolation in Chennai.
Ashwin wasn’t part of the Indian squad which faced South Africa in the five-match T20I series at home. He took part in the annual first division games organised by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA).
Ashwin decided to turn up for his local team Mylapore Recreation Club MRC ‘A’ just a week after playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL final, a game they lost to Gujarat Titans. Ashwin played the semi-final and final and helped his team to its maiden first division title. Later in the day, he had spoken to reporters in Chennai and explained the reason to turn up for his club despite the intense heat.
“The purpose of playing these games is to shift from 20 overs to this (red-ball) format. All these things are workload management. As you grow older, you play smarter. I am trying to do that. I am enjoying my game. I just want to go there (England) and take it as it comes. I feel I can contribute with the bat and bowl well. I want to keep ticking on my fitness and keep working,” he had said.
India had declined to play the fifth Test of the series in England last year after a Covid-19 scare in their dressing room. Former coach Ravi Shastri and the team physiotherapist too had got infected and as a result the players didn’t want to turn up for the game.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah had said that it was a joint decision with the ECB to cancel the fifth Test.
“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) along with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have jointly decided to call off the 5th Test Match scheduled at Manchester in ongoing India’s tour of England 2021. The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test Match, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test Match. In lieu of the strong relationship between BCCI and ECB, the BCCI has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled Test match. Both the Boards will work towards finding a window to reschedule this Test match,” the BCCI statement had said.