India hit by four COVID-19 positives ahead of West Indies series

Several members of the India camp, including four players, tested positive for COVID-19, four days before their ODI series against West Indies.

The players in question have been revealed to be Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Ruturaj Gaikwad and the reserve fast bowler Navdeep Saini.

Fielding coach T Dilip, security liaison officer B Lokesh and sports massage therapist Rajeev Kumar round off those who returned positive tests ahead of the series.

BCCI secretary Jay Shah said the selectors had added opening batter Mayank Agarwal to the ODI squad as cover for the players who tested positive.

The BCCI stated that the squad and support staff underwent three RT-PCR tests performed after the team landed in Ahmedabad on 31 January. These tests produced the positive results.

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While Saini and Dhawan returned positives immediately, two players only produced positives during the second and third round of tests.

The India squad began arriving in Ahmedabad at the end of last week, while the West Indies arrived on 2 February fresh off a series victory over England.

Both the West Indies and India camps are ensconced in the same hotel but occupy different floors.

According to the protocols adopted by the BCCI both India and West Indies have to serve out minimum of three days’ quarantine in their hotel rooms before breaking out for any sort of training.

India had been set to start training from Thursday while West Indies would be allowed to train by Friday afternoon.

All the seven members of the India group who tested positive will now isolate in Ahmedabad for seven days in line with government guidelines.

In the wake of a third wave of the pandemic in India, the ODI series will be played behind closed doors.

Dhawan, Iyer and Gaikwad are now likely miss the entire three-match ODI series, which will be played on 6,8 and 11 February.

Complicating matters further, India Vice-captain KL Rahul has not yet joined the squad and is set to miss the first ODI in order to attend a family wedding.

The developments have left India with just four specialist top order batters in Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant.

Agarwal is likely to slot straight into the team provided their are no hitches with his quarantine.