Rishabh Pant, who is part of India's touring party in England, has tested positive for Covid-19. He will not travel with the team to Durham as it reassembles ahead of next month's Test series against England.
A BCCI source confirmed that Pant had tested positive and had been in isolation for the past eight days. He is, according to the source, asymptomatic at this point. "He is in quarantine at an acquaintance's place and won't be travelling with the team to Durham on Thursday," the source said without divulging when the 23-year-old would join the squad.
"Yes, one player has tested positive but he has been in isolation for the last eight days. He was not staying in any hotel with the team, so no other player has been affected," BCCI vice-president Rajiv Shukla told PTI. "As of now no other player has tested positive. Also you must be aware our secretary Jay Shah has written a letter to all players to maintain protocols."
[News agency ANI, meanwhile, has reported that two players had tested positive - one who has subsequently returned a negative test and one whose ten-day isolation period ends on Sunday. It did not name either player.]
The development came close on the heels of Shah sending an email to the Indian contingent, warning it about the rising cases of Covid-19 in the United Kingdom. The players were given a break after the World Test Championship final against New Zealand, which the team lost last month.
It is understood that Pant has been afflicted by the Delta variant, which has led to rising number of cases in England. He was seen attending a Euro 2020 football match last month and had even posted pictures on his social media accounts.
Shah, in his letter, told the players to "avoid" crowded places as Covishield, the vaccine that has been administered to the players and other members of the team, only provides protection, not full immunity against the virus.
In fact, Shah's letter had specifically stated that players should avoid going to Wimbledon and the Euros, both of which recently concluded in the UK.
The Indian team is due to take on England in a five-match Test series starting August 4. It will play a practice game starting July 20 as a build-up to the high-intensity series. The India-England showdown marks the beginning of the second cycle of the World Test Championship.
Recently, the England team too was hit by the virus and was forced to field a second-string side for its limited-overs series against Pakistan.