Team Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has not travelled to the United Kingdom along with his team mates for the one-off ‘fifth Test’ after testing positive for COVID-19, a BCCI source told news agency PTI on Monday (June 20). Ashwin is currently in quarantine and will only join the squad after meeting all protocols requirements.

The Indian team had left for UK on June 16. “Ashwin hasn’t travelled with the squad to UK as he has tested positive for Covid 19 before departure. But we are hopeful that he will recover well in time before the Test match starts on July 1,” a BCCI source told PTI on conditions of anonymity.

“However, he might miss the practice game against Leicestershire,” the source added.

The rest of the squad is already in Leicester and started training under supervision of bowling coach Paras Mhambrey and batting coach Vikram Rathour. Rahul Dravid, Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have reached London after finishing the T20 assignment against South Africa and will travel to Leicester on Tuesday. The Ireland-bound squad under VVS Laxman will leave for Dublin on either June 23 or 24 as the team members have been given a three-day rest.

Indian cricketers, including skipper Rohit Sharma and opener Shubman Gill, on Monday hit the nets here ahead of the rescheduled fifth and final Test against England, starting in Birmingham on July 1.

Rohit and Gill are likely to open the innings for India in the Test and the duo got into the groove as they looked to sharpen their skills during the practice session at the Leicestershire County Ground. Rohit, who was rested for the T20I series against South Africa at home, defended few deliveries on the front foot, while also playing the pull shots against the short balls. Gill, too, looked to work on his game during the batting session.

India will be based here for a week and play Leicestershire in a four-day warm-up match from June 24. The duo of Rohit and KL Rahul had played a pivotal role in India securing a 2-1 lead in the Test series in England last year before the final match was abandoned owing to a COVID-19 outbreak.

Rahul, however, will miss the tour this time because of a groin injury, which had also ruled him out of the series against South Africa. His absence opened the door for Gill to open for India.

(with PTI inputs)

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