India are one on the cusp of a historic Test series win in England. Virat Kohli & Co defeated England by 157 runs in the fourth Test at the Oval, London to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series. But the match faced a COVID scare on Day 4 after Indian head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for the virus. (More Cricket News)
Shastri, 59, returned positive in a lateral flow test (Rapid Antigen Test) on Sunday and on Monday, his RT-PCR test report confirmed the infection. Three support staff members -- Bharath Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physiotherapist Nitin Patel -- were also isolated after being deemed his close contacts. And, now it's been learnt that Arun and Sridhar have tested positive.
It is understood that Shastri may have developed the symptoms either during his book release function, which was also attended by captain Kohli, a few evenings back, or while using a common lift that players use at the stadium along with the VIP guests which has minimum traffic of 5000 people.
In some quarters of BCCI, questions are being raised as to why a book release function was organised and outside people allowed just because health protocols relaxed in the UK.
According to reports, the turn of events has left BCCI miffed and the board.
"Photos from the event have been shared with BCCI officials. The board will probe the matter. This incident has left the board embarrassed. The coach and the captain will be asked to explain the circumstances after the fourth Test at Oval. The team's administrative manager Girish Dongre's role is also under the scanner," the Time Of India reported quoting a top BCCI official.
BCCI secretary Jay Shah had written a letter after Rishabh Pant's COVID-19 positive case that the contingent should stay away from crowded gatherings.
"The BCCI is in touch with ECB and trying to ensure the series is completed without any further incidents. As of now, everyone is hoping that Shastri recovers soon. There is a selection meeting for the T20 World Cup on Wednesday. Maybe the matter will be raised there,” the official added.
The fifth and final Test at Old Trafford, Manchester is scheduled to start on September 10.
"In Manchester, the BCCI is creating a separate IPL bubble for the cricketers as there will be bubble to bubble transfer on September 15. It was pre-decided," a PTI reported, quoting a senior BCCI source.
It is expected that all three coaches will be in touch with captain Virat Kohli and batting coach Vikram Rathour, who will be in charge of the team during this period.