Ravi Shastri defends book launch, says whole of UK is open

Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physiotherapist Nitin Patel were placed in isolation from Day Four of the fourth Test at The Oval, where India won by 157 runs

Indian coach Ravi Shastri on Sunday dismissed allegations that his book launch event was to blame for him being infected with Covid.

In an interview with Mid-day, the veteran coach said, “The whole country [United Kingdom] is open. Anything could have happened from Test One.”

Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physiotherapist Nitin Patel were placed in isolation from Day Four of the fourth Test at The Oval, where India won by 157 runs. The situation escalated further after assistant physio Yogesh Parmar also tested positive on the eve of the Manchester Test with BCCI and ECB subsequently deciding to call off the Test.

“Outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test Match,” said the BCCI in a press release on Friday.

Sources said that before the first Test, the team management had discussed whether a bio-bubble should be enforced before deciding that rules set by the England board would be followed — only those who test positive will undergo isolation.

The players and support staff were not keen on a bio-bubble as they are with their families on the tour. With Covid curbs eased in England, they were told to follow general social distancing norms. However, as a precaution, the team has to undergo an RT-PCR test every fifth day.

Earlier, when wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant had tested positive before the first Test, bowling coach Arun had to undergo ten days of isolation. Shastri had then tweeted: “My right hand back in the house. Looking fitter and stronger after being in isolation for 10 days even though testing negative all the way. Bloody frustrating these isolation rules. 2 jabs of the vaccine has to be trusted.”

Next, Shastri will accompany the Indian team to UAE for the T20 World Cup from October 17-Novermber 14.

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