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India head coach Ravi Shastri tests positive for Covid-19 as Oval Test with England goes on

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India head coach Ravi Shastri tests positive for Covid-19 after attending book launch with captain Virat Kohli and other players without consulting the ECB

  • India coach Ravi Shastri returned the positive Covid test on Saturday evening
  • Shastri, attended a book launch at a London hotel without consulting the ECB
  • India’s bowling coach, fielding coach and physio also isolating as a precaution
  • Remainder of Indian party returned negative results in two lateral flow tests 


England’s lucrative series against India has been compromised after the tourists’ head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for Covid-19 following a book launch at a London hotel.

Sportsmail understands the Indians did not seek dispensation from the ECB to take part in the event at the St James’ Court hotel in Victoria on Tuesday night, when attendees included India captain Virat Kohli and other members of his squad.

One guest said: ‘It was horrid. No one wore masks, apart from waiting staff. It left me feeling very uncomfortable. Everyone there went over to Shastri to meet him.’

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and has entered isolation

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday and has entered isolation 

Shastri speaks to Cheteshwar Pujara ahead of the start of the fourth Test at The Oval

Shastri speaks to Cheteshwar Pujara ahead of the start of the fourth Test at The Oval 

The ECB are understood to be bemused that the tourists chose to put themselves in such a vulnerable position, with London recording over 21,000 positive Covid cases last week.

And, with the fifth Test starting at Old Trafford on Friday, and India’s IPL contingent set to take a charter flight to the UAE the day after that game ends, any more positive tests could cause havoc for both events.

India need 10 wickets on the final day of the fourth Test to win and secure a 2-1 series lead after England finished the fourth day on 77-0 — 291 short of their victory target.

Shastri went into isolation yesterday morning after a lateral-flow test on Saturday night. So too, ‘as a precautionary measure’, did close contacts Bharat Arun, India’s bowling coach, Ramakrishnan Sridhar, their fielding coach, and Nitin Patel, the team physio, all of whom tested negative. The rest of the touring party underwent lateral-flow tests on Saturday evening and Sunday morning, testing negative as well.

India bowling coach Bharat Arun (right), has also entered isolation as a precaution

India bowling coach Bharat Arun (right), has also entered isolation as a precaution 

But they will not take the more reliable PCR tests until after the conclusion of the ongoing fourth Test at the Oval, as has been standard practice throughout the series. And with PCR results typically taking 24 hours to arrive, it could be tomorrow evening before India can say with certainty that none of their players have caught the virus.

The only interaction the England players have had with their Indian opponents has been on the field.

But a source confirmed last night that Joe Root’s team would not have been allowed anywhere near a busy book launch in the middle of an important series.

Meanwhile, Chris Woakes said England will use the experience of two recent run-chases as they look to knock off a national-record fourth-innings target of 368 to win the fourth Test.

England made 359 to beat Australia at Headingley two years ago, when Ben Stokes made a heroic unbeaten 135. And last summer, they chased down 277 to beat Pakistan in Manchester. ‘This team has done some special things over the last few years,’ said Woakes. ‘We can draw on those experiences.’ 

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