regular-article-logo Wednesday, 04 October 2023

Team India suffer Covid blow ahead of West Indies series

Men in Blue have adequate number of reserve players to make up for the absence of Dhawan, Ruturaj and Shreyas

A Staff Reporter Calcutta Published 02.02.22, 10:21 PM
Shikhar Dhawan.

Shikhar Dhawan. File Photo

Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and Ruturaj Gaikwad are among the three India cricketers who have tested Covid-19 positive, with barely three days to go for India’s ODI series versus the West Indies that starts in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

Pacer Navdeep Saini, among the standbys, has also tested positive along with fielding coach T. Dilip, the team sports massage therapist and the security liaison officer after RT-PCR tests were conducted.


Mayank Agarwal has been added to the ODI squad, said a BCCI release late on Wednesday evening.

“The BCCI medical team is handling the positive cases and they will remain in isolation till complete recovery is attained,” the release added.

However, the development is unlikely to disrupt the series as India do have adequate number of players in their reserve bench now to make up for the absence of Dhawan, Ruturaj and Shreyas, all of whom are ruled out of the ODIs.

Team India are scheduled to train from Friday and as of now, the training session is on. However, possibilities of more players testing positive cannot be ruled out as well.

More RT-PCR tests are set to be conducted in the coming days, which will present a clearer picture.

With the unavailability of both Dhawan and Ruturaj, who too bats at the top order, KL Rahul could be the one to open with skipper Rohit Sharma in the ODI series, unless the team management thinks of Mayank as the other opener.

In the current situation, the likes of all-rounder Venkatesh Iyer, wicketkeeper-batsman Ishan Kishan, and middle-order batsman Shahrukh Khan and left-arm spinner R. Sai Kishore, who are both in the standby, could well find themselves in India’s ODI scheme of things.

CAB dilemma on fans

Last Monday, within hours after the state government gave its nod to all indoor and outdoor sports activities with 75 per cent capacity of the venues, Cricket Association of Bengal (CAB) issued a statement expressing its confidence to successfully host the three India-West Indies T20Is starting from February 16 with spectators occupying most of the seats at Eden Gardens.

However, with less than a fortnight left for the T20I leg of the tour, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) hasn’t yet given the green light to spectators at the stadiums.

No clarity provided by the BCCI yet on the matter seems to have put the state association in an uncomfortable position. Having said that, the CAB has preferred to think positive and has been bold enough to go ahead and give the tickets for printing.

This was necessary since there isn’t enough time in hand. According to sources, 70 per cent of the tickets were given for printing last Sunday with five per cent more the day after. The ticket prices for the three T20Is have also been more or less fixed at Rs 650, Rs 1,000 and Rs 1,500.

The CAB does understand that if the BCCI doesn’t give the go-ahead for crowds, all its efforts will go to waste. Besides, the decision of the Gujarat Cricket Association to have the three-match ODI series at an empty Motera Stadium has added to the CAB’s worries.

Yet, the state association has risked taking such a bold step as it remains confident of getting a favourable feedback on the matter from the Board. The last time the Eden hosted an India-West Indies T20I was on November 4, 2018.

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