Indian wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant has returned a positive test for the COVID-19 virus in England. He had participated in the World Test Championship final in Southampton last month and has since been on a BCCI-approved 20-day break (for the entire squad) ahead of the five-match Test series against the host country.

Pant is currently home quarantining at his relatives’ place at present and is likely to join the tour party in Durham later, according to the Indian Express. The rest of the squad is set to resume the bio-bubble life from July 15 in Durham.

The Uttarakhand-born left-hander had to undergo a COVID test following a sore throat, as per the IE report. His teammates and support staff, who came in contact with the player, were kept in isolation for three days and they have completed their isolation period.

 

 

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A few weeks back, he was pictured in London’s Wembley Stadium for England’s round of 16 clash with Germany in the recently concluded UEFA European Championships.

The Indian players in England were allowed to exit the bio-bubble in England after the conclusion of the WTC final on June 23. The BCCI though had instructed the players and the support staff to enter the bubble again mid-July ahead of the Test series that is scheduled to begin on August 4.

This news comes in the midst of a COVID outbreak within the English camp ahead of their bilateral home series against Pakistan. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) confirmed that seven members of the team, including three players and four staff members, tested positive for the virus.

 

“We have been mindful that the emergence of the Delta variant, along with our move away from the stringent enforcement of biosecure environments, could increase the chances of an outbreak. We made a strategic choice to try to adapt protocols, in order to support the overall wellbeing of our players and management staff who have spent much of the last 14 months living in very restricted conditions,” ECB Chairman Tom Harrison had said.

The second-string Ben Stokes-led English team was still able to dispatch the visitors 3-0

Notably, Sri Lanka had visited England before Pakistan and had an outbreak of their own, upon returning home. Batting coach Grant Flower and data analyst GT Niroshan were tested positive, leading to the postponement of the ODI series against a parallel Indian team led by Shikhar Dhawan. The first game will now be played on July 18 instead of the original July 13.

Image credits: Instagram/Rishabh Pant