BCCI awaiting exemption for family members of squad
The Indian contingent that will head to the UK for the World Test Championship (WTC) final against New Zealand and the five-match Test series against England this summer will undergo a hard quarantine, spanning two weeks, starting May 19. Also part of this plan will be the Indian women’s squad, which is scheduled to play a one-off Test followed by three ODIs and three T20Is. Both the Indian squads will assemble in Mumbai and are likely to fly out together on a charter flight to London on June 2.
As per the BCCI’s plan, the 20 players in the men’s Test squad, excluding those residing in Mumbai, will start their quarantine at the team hotel from Wednesday. The BCCI has arranged charter flights that will pick up all the players, coaches and support staff from different parts of India and bring them to Mumbai.
From May 24 onwards the rest of the squad and members of the team management residing in Mumbai, including Indian captain Virat Kohli, his deputy Ajinkya Rahane, senior batsman Rohit Sharma along with head coach Ravi Shastri, will enter the bio-secure bubble at the Mumbai team hotel. The Mumbai group will also serve a strict home quarantine starting on May 19.
To ensure the bubble is completely secure, the BCCI has arranged for all members – both the men’s and women’s squads – to get three negative tests before they board the flights to Mumbai. There will be further testing done at the team hotel in Mumbai before they embark on the London flight.
Saha to join Mumbai bubble later
Wriddhiman Saha, who is one of the two wicketkeepers along with Rishabh Pant for the WTC final and the England series, will join the Mumbai bubble in the week leading to the England departure. Saha had tested positive for Covid-19 during his stay in the Delhi leg of the IPL where he plays for Sunrisers Hyderabad. ESPNcricinfo has learned that Saha, who has been in quarantine for two weeks, has got the BCCI permission to visit his family in Kolkata before he heads to Mumbai to join the Indian Test squad.
Saha was one of the three players, along with KL Rahul and Prasidh Krishna, whose availability, the BCCI had said while naming the squad, was subject to fitness. Rahul had undergone surgery to treat appendicitis during the IPL where he is captain of Punjab Kings. Krishna, who plays for the Kolkata Knight Riders, had tested positive for Covid-19 a day after returning from the IPL to his home town Bengaluru recently.
Ten-day quarantine in Southampton
The men’s squad will head directly to Southampton where India will play New Zealand in the inaugural WTC final between June 18-22. ESPNcricinfo understands that as per the permission sought from the British government by the ECB, which will coordinate with the ICC in hosting the WTC final, the Indian Test squad will undergo a 10-day quarantine at the team hotel which is located within the ground premises in Southampton. However unlike the hard quarantine in Mumbai, the Indian squad would be allowed to train in a controlled fashion within the Southampton bubble, which will comprise the team hotel and the ground and training facilities.
BCCI awaits exemption for family members
One significant question still facing the BCCI is getting exemptions for the family members of the Indian contingent. It is learnt that the ECB is working with the UK government on seeking these exemptions.
With the number of Covid cases nearing 25 million overall, India is only behind the US globally and also has the third-largest death count since the pandemic hit. Recently the UK government had put India on the red list of countries for travel – both outbound and inbound.
Despite most of its adult population having received at least one shot of the vaccine, the UK government has been cautious about incoming travellers from India mainly due to concern over the growing number of cases related to the coronavirus variant, B.1.617.2, which originated in India. On Monday, Matt Hancock, the British Health Secretary said there were about 2,323 cases of the Indian variant.
At present, the BCCI has allowed family members to be part of the Mumbai bubble. The family members will undergo the same bio-safety protocols meant for the team while living in the bubble.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo
Australia in West Indies 2021
The Australia captain said that performances on the upcoming tours will count for a lot in final selection
“I’m seeing them pretty good,” he said in Brisbane ahead of the squad’s chartered flight to the Caribbean on Monday. “I’ve only been hitting indoors on hard wickets, so [I] think the big test will come in night matches, that’s when I noticed the biggest difference in my eyesight.
“It was just bloody blurry which isn’t ideal as a batsman. One day it just sort of changed and got a little bit worse. It wasn’t very sharp and there was bit of a halo around lights and a bit of a trail on the ball, so just a bit unusual. After New Zealand we thought that was the best time to get it done. Was about a three-week process and it was really smooth. It’s all clear now, so seems really good.”
As in New Zealand, Finch will have a squad stripped of some key players due to a combination of resting, opt-outs and Steven Smith’s elbow injury. It was a long-term plan for David Warner and Pat Cummins to miss the tour, but Marcus Stoinis, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson and Jhye Richardson made themselves unavailable.
That has led to recalls for Ben McDermott, Ashton Turner and Dan Christian along with a maiden call-up for pace bowler Wes Agar.
Finch reiterated the view of national selector Trevor Hohns that significant weight will be put behind performances over these two tours when it comes to the final selection of the T20 World Cup squad which means there may not be a certain path back for all the absentees.
“Playing cricket for Australia and doing well is the ultimate, in my opinion,” he said. “So for guys to be on this tour to get the first opportunity to put their hand up and take that spot is what it’s about. It’s tough to ignore really good international performances.
“It could change a lot. That was based on the World Cup being in Australia and I thought our side in the lead-up to the original World Cup meant to be held here was really settled. You have to look to keep restructuring your side to gather more information. The more the wickets change and the more they go away from our traditional Australian wickets think the more we have to keep learning.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
Australians at the PSL: Usman Khawaja, Tim David and James Faulkner leave a mark
Recent Match Report – Gloucs vs Glamorgan South Group 2021
NZ wicketkeeper-bat required just 41 balls to take game away from visitors
Gloucestershire 216 for 2 (Phillips 94*, Howell 53*) beat Glamorgan 182 for 8 (Lloyd 44, Higgins 2-27) by 34 runs
Phillips’ fifth-highest score of his career, and first half-century in the Vitality Blast, powered Gloucestershire to 216 for 2 – their own fifth-highest T20 total. He struck nine fours and six sixes to overwhelm Glamorgan, who gave game chase for a while but could only reply with 182 for 8.
Phillips arrived after Miles Hammond and Chris Dent had given the innings a lively start after losing the toss, making 60 without loss. He cut Marnus Labuschagne through extra cover before lifting Dan Douthwaite over the sight screen. He blasted Prem Sisodiya twice straight back past his for four and swept him fine for another boundary in going to fifty in 26 balls.
He took 14 from the 17th over, clubbing Timm van der Gugten over long-off, before uppercutting Douthwaite for a third six. An extraordinary reverse-scoop flew over third man for six as 23 came from the 18th. In the final over, he launched van der Gugten over the longest boundary at midwicket, crashed him wide of deep cover for four and swung the final ball of the innings over deep-square.
Howell took his chance up at three to make an unbeaten 53 in 33 balls. He struck Callum Taylor for four through extra cover and wide of midwicket before a slug down the ground cleared long-off for six. He drove Weighell for four to raise a fifth T20 half-century.
Glamorgan needed their third-highest T20 total to win and stayed in the game for the first half of the chase. David Lloyd gave them a rattling start with 44 in 22 balls, striking four sixes, three of them short-arm jabs over midwicket and Glamorgan reached 101 for 4 at halfway. But Tom Smith then bowled an over for 9 followed by a wicket maiden to leave 15-an-over for the final five.
Labuschagne was, as ever, a crucial wicket and David Payne yorked him walking across his stumps. His 33 in 21 balls was well light of what Glamorgan needed.
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