India tour of England: Less than two weeks left for Virat Kohli-led Team India to leave for a long four-month England tour and the BCCI is still negotiating with the country’s government on the quarantine rules. BCCI wants the team to be allowed practice after three days of hard quarantine as they will face New Zealand for the ICC World Test Championship (ICC WTC Final) from June 18.
As India is on the UK’s red list, in normal circumstances, cricketers would not have been allowed to step foot on English soil. But considering India will play the ICC WTC Final against New Zealand from June 18 and England in the 5-match Test series from August 4, the BCCI wants further relaxations on the hard quarantine norms. Currently, all who are coming from India must serve a hard 14-day quarantine in the UK.
Although the BCCI successfully negotiated passage for Team India and support staff besides arranging the team hotel in Southampton for quarantine, the hard quarantine is part of the rules they need to follow. Instead of London, where Virat Kohli’s Team India will arrive on June 3, the players and support staff will be taken to Ageas Bowl in Southampton where they will spend the next one month for the ICC WTC Final. The women’s team will be taken to Bristol where they will be stationed for the next month.
India tour of England: BCCI requests ECB, ‘to allow Virat Kohli and team to train during quarantine’
However, what the BCCI wants is a soft quarantine like the countries on the amber or green list. Under the hard quarantine protocols, players including the men’s and women’s team are not allowed to step out of their hotel rooms for 14 days. But the BCCI wants the team to train and has arranged its own 9-day bio-secure bubble in Mumbai where players will undergo regular COVID-19 testing. But it is still under negotiation.
“There may be a hard quarantine for a few days and then the players could be allowed to train. In Australia last November, the players were in hard quarantine for three days and then they were allowed to train. But the players could not move out of their hotel rooms after practice. Something similar is being mooted this time too,” a BCCI official told TOI.
The other negotiation with the ECB and the UK authorities is regarding the players’ families. Since India will go on a long tour, players have been allowed to accompany their immediate families. However, even though the players have received clearance, their family members haven’t. The BCCI is still negotiating a way for the family members, who will also be in the bio-bubble in Mumbai.