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Book launch-Covid link: Shastri defiant


Mumbai, September 12

Indian team head coach Ravi Shastri has brushed aside criticism of the launch event of his book in London on September 1, following which he and other members of the team’s support staff tested positive for Covid-19. This had serious implications, with the final Test of the India-England series being called off, and there is the possibility that ICC might consider as a forfeiture by India — this would mean the series would be drawn 2-2.

“The whole country (United Kingdom) is open. Anything could have happened from Test One,” said Shastri in an interview. Shastri himself was the first to test positive for the virus during the fourth Test in London. Bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar too tested positive after him. Following this, right in the middle of the fourth Test, physiotherapist Nitin Patel too had to isolate for being one of Shastri’s close contacts, though Patel had tested negative.

On the eve of the fifth Test in Manchester, assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar tested positive, which set a scare of a Covid outbreak in the Indian camp. It eventually resulted in the fifth and final Test of the five-match series getting cancelled on Friday.

However, instead of talking about the fifth Test being called off and his responsibility for it, Shastri chose to focus on the performances of the Indian team in the series. “It’s been the best summer of cricket England has seen in a long time certainly from an Indian cricket team. It’s Covid times, awesome summer though. The boys were fantastic,” observed Shastri.

Shastri’s next assignment with the Indian team will be the men’s T20 World Cup in the UAE from October 17 to November 14. — Agencies

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