In a shot in the arm for the India men's and women's squads that are due to tour England, the families of players and coaching and support staff have been cleared by the UK government to accompany them on tour. The men's team will be on tour for close to four months, playing the the World Test Championship against New Zealand before embarking on five Tests against England. The women are due to play one Test followed by three ODIs and three T20Is.
The families will be on board the charter flight that will fly both the men's and women's squads, which will land on June 3 in London. From there, both squads will move to Southampton, where they will serve the required quarantine period, the duration for which is yet to be confirmed.
It is learned that the India women will then move to Bristol, the venue of their one-off Test against England. The men's team, too, is expected to start training at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton in a controlled manner post-quarantine.
Currently both squads are in Mumbai in the same hotel, where part of the contingent has been in quarantine for two weeks. The other part, residents of Mumbai, joined last week and are currently isolating in their rooms before they join the rest on June 2.
On May 29, the ICC had announced that the WTC final had been given an exemption from standard Covid-19 protocols by the UK government, subject to the teams adhering to all guidelines put in place. The exemption is significant considering the UK government had put India on the red list of countries, from where all travel is barred, since April. Those who are given clearance, including British citizens, have to serve a mandatory 10-day quarantine period at a paid facility appointed by the UK government.
"As per the bio-safety protocols established for the event, in line with UK government and Public Health England requirements, the Indian Men's team will arrive in the UK on 3 June 2021 via a charter flight and carrying evidence of a negative PCR Test," the ICC said in a media release on May 29. " Prior to travelling, the party will have spent 14 days in a bio-secure environment in India during which regular testing will have taken place. Upon landing, they will proceed directly to the on-site hotel at the Hampshire Bowl where they will be tested again before commencing a period of managed isolation.
"Regular tests will be conducted during the period of isolation. Players' activity will be allowed in a gradually increasing manner after each round of negative testing, moving from exercise in isolation to small group and then larger squad activity, whilst always remaining within the bio-secure venue."
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo