England-India 5th Test: Covid-infected Ashwin in home isolation, couldn’t board flight

When the Indian team had its first practice session in England on Monday and most of their best players showed up for red ball training, Ravichandran Ashwin was a notable absentee. The Indian Express has been informed that the off-spinner has become infected with Covid-19 and was unable to board the flight to England a few days ago.

There is also no clarity on whether Ashwin will board in time to be available for the rescheduled Test against England in Edgbaston, Birmingham, which starts on July 1.

The Indian team led by Rohit Sharma flew to London to complete the series they led 2-1 before the final test.

Under the rules of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), all players were required to undergo RT-PCR testing as soon as they flew out of their respective homes. It is learned that Ashwin’s test result is positive and he is undergoing home isolation in Chennai.

Ashwin was not part of the Indian squad that faced South Africa at home in the five-game T20I series. He took part in the annual first-class competitions organized by the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA).

Ashwin decided to appear for his local team Mylapore Recreation Club MRC ‘A’ just a week after playing for Rajasthan Royals in the IPL final, a match they lost to Gujarat Titans. Ashwin played the semi-finals and finals and helped his team to their first division title. Later in the day, he had spoken to reporters in Chennai and explained why he had come to his club despite the intense heat.

“The aim of playing these games is to go from 20 overs to this (red ball) format. All these things are workload management. As you get older, you play smarter. I try to do that. I enjoy my game. I just want to go there (England) and take it as it comes. I feel like I can contribute well with the bat and come. I want to keep working on my fitness and keep working,” he said.

India had refused to play the fifth Test of the series in England last year after a Covid-19 scare in their dressing room. Former coach Ravi Shastri and the team physiotherapist had also become infected and as a result the players did not want to show up.

BCCI Secretary Jay Shah had said it was a joint decision with the ECB to cancel the fifth Test.

“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has jointly decided with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to cancel the 5th Test match scheduled to take place in Manchester during the ongoing Indian England tour in 2021. The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test Match, but the Covid-19 outbreak in the Indian team forced the decision to call off the Old Trafford Test Match. In lieu of the strong relationship between BCCI and ECB, BCCI has offered the ECB a rescheduling of the canceled test match. Both boards will work to find a time to reschedule this test match,” the BCCI statement said.

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