Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo, Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent
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All the eight people identified as the immediate contacts of India allrounder Krunal Pandya have tested negative for Covid-19 in the fresh round of RT-PCR tests carried out on Tuesday. ESPNcricinfo understands the group of eight, whose identity has not been revealed by the BCCI, cannot travel to the ground for the final two T20Is of the Sri Lanka series. On Tuesday, the BCCI had said all members of the squad would be tested.
The development will come as a shot in the arm for Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) as it paves the way for the remaining two matches to be played over consecutive days on July 28 and 29 in Colombo. On Tuesday, the BCCI confirmed Krunal had tested positive for Covid-19, which led to the SLC postponing the second T20I by a day. The allrounder tested positive in both the antigen as well RT-PCR tests, after complaining of a sore throat on Tuesday morning.
What still remains unclear is the period Krunal and his eight contacts will need to be in isolation. However, it has been learned that the contacts have been separated from the rest of the India squad and that they will need to clear another RT-PCR test. Professor Arjuna de Silva, who oversees SLC's bio-bubble protocols for international tours, told ESPNcricinfo, that it was unclear how Krunal might have contracted the disease, as there have been no reports of the bubble being broken, or any other significant irregularities.
The India team have a hotel to themselves, and even the staff working in the hotel are essentially part of the bubble and undergo frequent testing. De Silva said that no one else, including staff, had tested positive so far.
It could not be confirmed whether these developments will have an impact on the pair of Prithvi Shaw and Suryakumar Yadav, who were expected to finish the T20I series before traveling to England to join the Indian Test squad. On Monday, the BCCI announced both players were picked by the Indian selectors as replacements for the England tour.