Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP

Ravi Shastri has defended his book launch event, saying that anything could have happened from the opening Test match of the series. The Indian cricket team’s camp was hit by COVID-19 last week when Ravi Shastri’s lateral flow test returned positive after day 3 of the 4th Test match. Following him, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar contracted the infection.

On the eve of the 4th Test, junior physio Yogesh Parmar also tested positive for COVID-19, which led to the cancellation of the 5th Test match, which was to start on September 10. While the source of COVID-19 isn’t known, some are criticizing Shastri for his book launch event as it took place with over 100 people in attendance.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri's book launch event in London | Twitter
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri’s book launch event in London | Twitter

Ravi Shastri: The UK Is Open As Anything Could Have Happened From 1st Test

Indian skipper Virat Kohli and other members of Team India were also present at the event. Ravi Shastri, who is in isolation in the UK, has responded to the criticism and defended the book launch event.

“The whole country [United Kingdom] is open. Anything could have happened from Test One,” Shastri was quoted as saying by mid-day.

“It’s been the best summer of cricket England has seen in a long time certainly from an Indian cricket team. It’s Covid times, awesome summer though. The boys were fantastic either side of the Thames.”

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The cancelled 5th Test match is likely to take place at a rescheduled date as the BCCI said that the two boards will look to find a window for the fixture. Team India is scheduled to play a white-ball series against England next year and the one-off fixture could take place then.

Indian Players Who Feature In IPL Too Joined Their Respective Franchises And serving 6 Day Mandatory Quarantine Period

Meanwhile, the majority of Indian players have joined their IPL franchises in UAE. They are now serving the six-day mandatory isolation period. The 2nd phase of IPL 2021 kicks off on September 19. Ravi Shastri and other COVID-19 positive coaches will land in India after completing their isolation period. They will likely reach UAE for T20 World Cup next month.

The players started departing in clusters — some in charter flights arranged by their franchises like Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad while Chennai Super Kings cricketers took commercial flights. RCB captain Virat Kohli and his premier pacer Mohammed Siraj also took a charter flight from Manchester.

The three Punjab Kings players in the Indian Test side – KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, and Mohammed Shami – are also taking commercial flights out of England. England players in the franchise, none from the Test side, will travel later. As many as six Indian Test players – Rishabh Pant, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Umesh Yadav, and Axar Patel – play for Delhi Capitals. They will join their IPL bubble on Sunday.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

The six-day quarantine rule led to some pull-outs. England trio Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Chris Woakes (Delhi Capitals), and Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings) decided to give the IPL second phase a miss. It isn’t known if the three opted out after consulting the English Cricket Board to manage workload. All three are expected to feature in the Ashes series at the year-end.