Team India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has reportedly contracted COVID-19 ahead of the fifth Test against England at Edgbaston, Birmingham. As a result, he was not among the pool of players that travelled and began practice ahead of the contest on July 1.
All the members of the Test squad were asked to undergo an RT-PCR Test before boarding the flight to England from Mumbai. According to reports, Ashwin returned a positive result and is undergoing quarantine at his residence in Chennai.
It is to be noted that a slew of COVID-19 cases was responsible for halting the India vs England Test series last year. Several members of the Indian coaching staff were infected and the decision to postpone the final Test was taken.
Ashwin’s involvement in the Test match is yet to be decided as he would have to recover in time and return a negative result before joining the squad in England. The off-spinner was not part of the playing XI in the four Tests that India played against the Three Lions last year.
Virat Kohli opted to play with five bowlers with precedence given to Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur due to conditions and their output with the bat.
Following the culmination of the Indian Premier League (IPL), Ashwin represented his local team Mylapore Recreation Club MRC ‘A’ after not being named in the squad for the T20I series against the Proteas. Ashwin had said after the IPL:
“The purpose of playing these games is to shift from 20 overs to this (red-ball) format. All these things are workload management. As you grow older, you play smarter. I am trying to do that. I am enjoying my game. I just want to go there (England) and take it as it comes. I feel I can contribute with the bat and bowl well. I want to keep ticking on my fitness and keep working,”
Team India are already without the services of KL Rahul, who misses out due to a groin injury. The wicket-keeper batter was in line to lead the team in the recently concluded T20 series against South Africa. He is set to undergo treatment in Germany.
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