Indian squads begin hard quarantine for UK tour

MUMBAI, May 25: India captain Virat Kohli, his white-ball deputy Rohit Sharma and head coach Ravi Shastri joined the England-bound squad’s bio-bubble on Tuesday as it began its eight-day hard quarantine along with the women’s team here.
The Indian women’s team members also entered their eight-day hard quarantine at the Grand Hyatt in Mumbai located near the international airport.
The teams are expected to fly out on June 2 after all the playing and non-playing members return three negative RT-PCR results.
The men’s team will first take on New Zealand in the World Test Championship final against New Zealand from June 18 before a full series against England. The women are scheduled to take on the hosts in one Test, three ODIs and as many T20 Internationals starting June 16.
“Wriddhiman and Prasidh Krishna joined the bubble two days back after recovering fully from COVID-19. Mumbaikars like Virat, Rohit and coach Shastri have all now joined the bubble,” a BCCI source confirmed.
It is learnt that approval for allowing the players’ families is still awaited but the BCCI is hopeful that it would be done soon.
“We can’t have our players being away from their families for three months and that too in a bubble. That’s never great for mental health,” the source said.
The negotiation on quarantine duration once the side reaches England is still on and the hard quarantine (confined to hotel rooms) could be shortened.
England tour itinerary unlikely to change
The BCCI’s bid to shift the five-Test series between India and England, starting August 4, by a week in order to accommodate the remaining 31 IPL games has not met with any favourable response from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).
While BCCI didn’t make any formal request as it was confirmed by the ECB spokesperson, it is learnt that the informal discussions between the bigwigs of both boards have not yielded any favourable result.
“There is no chance of ECB acceding to BCCI’s request of shifting the dates of the Test series. Since they have made their standpoint clear informally, I don’t think there is any point of making a formal request,” a senior BCCI source in the know of things told PTI.
“The ECB have their inaugural ‘Hundred’ from July 24 to August 21. Their broadcast deals and everything is in place. So, there is no chance of any shift happening,” the source said.
Indian team is looking at a potential gap of six weeks after the completion of World Test Championship final against New Zealand which is scheduled from June 18-22 in Southampton and start of the England series.
The five-Test series starts with first match at Nottingham (Aug-4-8), followed by Lord’s (Aug 12-16), Leeds (Aug 25-29), Oval (Sep 2-6) and Manchester (Sep 10-14).
However, a potential start in the last week of July, with lesser gaps between the Tests would open the entire month of September in which BCCI can now complete the IPL in the UAE between September 15 to October 15.
Former England captain Michael Atherton had in fact hinted that ECB won’t listen to BCCI’s request.
“At this late stage it is hard to see the ECB acceding to any potential change and it is expected to hold its ground,” Atherton wrote in The Times.
The BCCI, it is learnt, has already started talks with various boards about the window between September 15 to October 15 with UAE being almost zeroed in as the destination.
“In case of World T20, the BCCI won’t take a call now but for all practical reasons and an expected third wave, the chances of the global event happening in the UAE post IPL looks like a distinct possibility,” the source said. (PTI)

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