Calcutta: The Indian Test team in England must have heaved a sigh of life as Rishabh Pant, their regular drummer goalkeeper, joined the London facility after recovering from Covid-19 and completing his spell compulsory isolation.
BCCI posted a welcome tweet to the Indian contingent on Thursday as Shubhman Gill, the opener who had been banned from the entire round of testing, returned home.
Pant tested positive on July 8 and was unable to travel with the rest of the squad to Durham where the Indians play a three-day warm-up match against a County Select XI before their first test which begins on August 4 in Nottingham. There were reports of some problems in the Indian squad, with skipper Virat Kohli withdrawing from the three-day race with a stiff back while vice-test captain Ajinkya Rahane had an hamstring- leg swollen but should be in good shape in time for the first test.
Rohit Sharma leads the team in the warm-up match – on his final day – where KL Rahul, who doubles as a wicket keeper, scored 101 fluently (retired) in his first innings, with India scoring 311 Mayank Agarwal, who along with Rahul is billed as one of Gill’s substitutes in the opener’s lunge, got off to a start before being sacked for 28.
Besides Pant, four other members of the Indian camp were also in quarantine in London: training assistant Dayanand Garani, also tested positive for Covid-19, as well as wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha, reserve opener Abhimanyu Easwaran and bowling coach Bharat Arun, who have been identified as close contacts.
There was worrying news for the Indian side, however, as fast pitcher Avesh Khan, a stand-by, suffered a thumb injury during the warm-up match in Durham. Khan injured his left thumb as he lined up for the county on an ECB request and was taken in for scans.
“Quick pitcher Avesh Khan remains under observation by the BCCI medical team,” the Indian Cricket Council said on Wednesday, adding that the 24-year-old would miss the remainder of the match.
Meanwhile, crimper Ollie Robinson has been called back to the England squad for the first two tests against India, the ECB said on Wednesday.
The 27-year-old was given an eight-game suspension, five of which were suspended for two years, for a number of “offensive tweets” he sent between 2012-2014 and which came to light during his England Test debut against New Zealand in June.
England team: Joe Root (captain), James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Dom Bess, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Zak Crawley, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Dom Sibley, Ben Stokes , Mark Wood.