Sourav Ganguly, the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), on Friday defended Rishabh Pant after the wicketkeeper-batsman tested positive for COVID-19 in England ahead of India’s five-match Test series against the hosts.
On Thursday, the BCCI revealed that Pant and training assistant Dayanand Garani tested positive for the virus in England and will not travel with the rest of the squad to Durham where India is set to play a three-day practice match.
The BCCI, in a press statement, said Pant was “asymptomatic” and “will be able to join the squad in Durham after returning two negative RT-PCR tests.”
Three others – wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, opener Abhimanyu Easwaran, and bowling coach B Arun — have been identified as close contacts of Garani. They have been asked to confine themselves to their rooms for 10 days as a precaution.
Ganguly, in a chat with News18, defended Pant and said that it is “physically impossible to wear a mask all the time”. “We have recently seen European Championship and Wimbledon in England. Rules have changed. They were on leave and it’s physically impossible to wear a mask all the time,” he said.
After the ICC World Test Championship final, the team was granted a 20-day break during which Pant was spotted at the Wembley Stadium, London during the UEFA Euro 2020 last-16 tie between England and Germany.
Asked about opening options in the absence of injured Shubman Gill, Ganguly said, “I don’t interfere in all these matters. The team management will decide this.”