TEAM INDIA coach Ravi Shastri has gone into isolation and will undergo quarantine of 14 days after testing positive for Covid Saturday during the fourth Test against England at The Oval. The result effectively rules out Shastri’s presence in the dressing room for the rest of the Test series with the fifth and final match to be held from September 10 to 14.
Three other support staff members, who have been tagged as “close contacts” of the coach since they had dined together Friday, will also be in isolation and need to clear three tests before rejoining the team.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah said in a statement Sunday that the Board’s medical team has isolated bowling coach B Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel “as a precautionary measure after Shastri’s lateral flow test returned positive last evening”.
“They have undergone RT-PCR testing and shall remain in the team hotel and not travel with Team India until confirmation from the medical team. The remaining members of the Team India contingent underwent two lateral flow tests — one last night and another this morning. The members upon returning negative Covid reports were allowed to proceed for Day 4 of the ongoing fourth Test at The Oval,” the statement said.
The lateral flow test is a rapid diagnostic test for those without symptoms. All members of the team have been vaccinated and, unlike the IPL, the side isn’t part of a bio-bubble during this tour.
Sources said that before the first Test, the team management had discussed whether a bio-bubble should be enforced before deciding that rules set by the England board would be followed — only those who test positive will undergo isolation.
The players and support staff were not keen on a bio-bubble as they are with their families on the tour. With Covid curbs eased in England, they were told to follow general social distancing norms. However, as a precaution, the team has to undergo an RT-PCR test every fifth day.
Incidentally, on the eve of the fourth Test, Shastri had attended a function at a London hotel for the launch of his book ‘Stargazing: The Players In My Life’.
Earlier, when wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant had tested positive before the first Test, bowling coach Arun had to undergo ten days of isolation. Shastri had then tweeted: “My right hand back in the house. Looking fitter and stronger after being in isolation for 10 days even though testing negative all the way. Bloody frustrating these isolation rules. 2 jabs of the vaccine has to be trusted.”