Dhawan, Iyer, Gaikwad, Saini test positive ahead of West Indies series

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India have been dealt a severe blow four days ahead of their ODI series against West Indies with seven members of their camp, including four players, testing positive for COVID-19.

The players are Shikhar DhawanShreyas IyerRuturaj Gaikwad and the reserve fast bowler Navdeep Saini.

The other three are members of the support staff: fielding coach T Dilip, security liaison officer B Lokesh and sports massage therapist Rajeev Kumar.

While announcing the development in a media release late on Wednesday, BCCI secretary Jay Shah said the selectors had added opening batter Mayank Agarwal to the ODI squad.

The BCCI said that all positive results emerged after the India squad had undergone three RT-PCR tests upon landing in Ahmedabad on January 31. Dhawan and Saini returned positive tests after the first round of testing on January 31.

Dilip and Lokesh also tested positive on the same day. Gaikwad, who had cleared the January 31 test, returned a positive test the next day, while Iyer and Rajeev returned positive tests on Wednesday during the third round of testing.

The India squad started to arrive in Ahmedabad at the end of last week, while West Indies landed early on February 2. Both teams are staying at the same hotel, but on separate floors.

As per the BCCI’s guidelines both India and West Indies have to serve a minimum of three days’ quarantine in their hotel rooms before breaking out for training. India were scheduled to start training from Thursday while West Indies from second half on February 4.

All members of the Indian contingent, the BCCI said, had been asked to take a PCR test before they travelled to Ahmedabad. All the seven members who tested positive will now isolate in Ahmedabad. As per the guidelines issued by Indian government, any person testing positive needs to isolate for minimum of seven days.

The ODI series is set to be played behind closed doors, with India currently experiencing a third wave of the pandemic. India recorded over 160,000 fresh cases on Tuesday, with the state of Gujarat, where Ahmedabad is located, reporting over 8,000 of them.

Dhawan, Iyer and Gaikwad will now most likely miss the three-match ODI series, which will be played on February 6, 8 and 11. But the three batters will aim to be back for the T20I leg of the series. The T20Is will be played in Kolkata on February 16, 18 and 20.

Vice-captain KL Rahul has not yet joined the India squad and is set to miss the first ODI in order to attend his sister’s wedding. This means India will have only five batters from the original squad to choose from for the first ODI: captain Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and all-rounder Deepak Hooda.

Agarwal is likely to arrive in Ahmedabad on Thursday, which means he could slot into the XI for the first ODI, immediately after completing his three-day quarantine. (ESPNcricinfo)

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