Fri. Jun 2nd, 2023

The cancellation of the fifth Test between England and India on Friday due to a Covid-19 outbreak in the visitors’ camp has led to questions over head coach Ravi Shastri’s book release function in London where health safety protocols went for a toss.

It was after that book release event ahead of the fourth Test that Shastri along with bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel tested positive. All of them were fully vaccinated.

However, things took a turn for the worst when assistant physio Yogesh Parmar was found positive and apprehensive Indian team decided against taking the field in the match which was called off two hours before the toss.

Indian captain Virat Kohli and his teammates were present at the function where outside guests were also allowed and most of them were unmasked owing to relaxation of rules across England.

It is learnt that neither Shastri nor Kohli took any written permission from the BCCI on attending the function at the team hotel.

“Perhaps they might have thought that since health safety rules have been relaxed in the UK, they didn’t need permission,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.

This brings into focus, the role of team’s administrative manager Girish Dongre, whose job is to ensure that all the paperwork and necessary protocols are in place for events like these.

Kohli led the players in their demand for cancellation of the match and they were successful in having their way after several rounds of talks with BCCI brass as well as England Cricket Board Chief Executive Tom Harrison who tried to convince a “visibly scared Indian skipper”.

Kohli, however, would just not relent. “But the point here is that why didn’t they apply common sense when they agreed to attend Shastri’s book launch where outsiders were allowed?” he asked.

Secretary Jay Shah, in a letter, had asked the players not to attend crowded events like the Wimbledon and the European Cup football.

“These people attended social gatherings and then when there was a case, they got scared,” he said.

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By tilu858

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