New Delhi: The Indian cricket team attending the book launch of head coach Ravi Shastri before the fourth Test at Oval in London continues to be a talking point. Days after the BCCI made it clear that the Indian team didn’t take permission from the board to attend the book launch event, it is learnt that players were not even wearing masks at the event.
Sources told India Ahead that the players were not aware that there would be a crowd at the event. By the time the players arrived for the event and saw the crowded event, most of them didn’t stay for more than five to 10 minutes.
“No one can blame the players for not wearing masks. The players were surprised when they reached the venue to see so many people. The players thought that the gathering would be limited to a certain number of people. The moment they saw the crowd, they slowly started to leave the venue after five to 10 minutes,” a BCCI source exclusively told India Ahead on Tuesday.
The board had also offered the team to get into a bio bubble for 10 days during the fifth and final Test for a bubble-to-bubble transfer from Manchester to UAE. “Now, we have to focus ahead. We know that four members of the team got affected after the book launch event. Whether the team denies it or not, we should have stayed away from crowded places,” a board official said while adding that the team wasn’t in any sort of bubble in the UK.
The India team was on the threshold of creating history in the fifth and final Manchester Test after beating England at the Oval in London. However, Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physiotherapist Nitin Patel tested Covid positive after their RT-PCR confirmed the infection during the Oval Test.
Board president Sourav Ganguly too confirmed that Shastri didn’t take permission for the event. Even BCCI secretary Jay Shah wrote letters to the players asking them to follow the health protocols by staying away from crowded gatherings after Rishab Pant tested positive before the first Test.
However, Shastri dismissed allegations that his book launch event was to blame for his Covid infection. He also claimed that the whole of the UK was open. The whole incident ran into controversy after the Manchester Test got canceled — following the fifth member of the Indian team going down with a Covid positive report.