Dinesh Karthik has spoken on Sky Sports about his interactions with a number of Indian players and their feelings surrounding the cancellation of the fifth Test match.
Karthik was speaking to Ian Ward during Sky’s coverage of the cancelled Test match and was able to provide insight into the Indian dressing room having been in contact with a number of the squad over the course of the day.
“The general feeling is that a lot of the players are tiring. This is after the fourth Test and almost all the games have gone down to the wire. A lot of people are tired and they have only one physio right now. They had two, but before this one went down [with Covid] along with a couple of the coaches.
“So they have one physio, and they’ve done a lot of work with that man. And now he tests positive. And that is the problem. If it was somebody else, you know someone helping in terms of logistics or something like that they wouldn’t be this afraid, but this person got it and that’s when they got the jitters.
“You also have to understand that as soon as this finishes, they have the IPL, soon after that the World Cup and soon after that the New Zealand series. You’re talking literally one week turnarounds and how many bubbles can they do?
“When they assembled in India [for this tour] it was May 16th. It’s almost four months now, four months. That’s a lot of time.”
Asked whether the possibility of postponing the Test by a day had been an option, Karthik said it had been considered but was ultimately not a possible option.
“There were thoughts of that but let’s take today as an example. Most of the guys haven’t slept til 2:30-3 in the morning because they don’t even know if they’re going to be ready for the match. You know it’s very late in India so they don’t even know if they’re going to be able to speak to the ECB with those types of discussions going on. So most of them haven’t even slept til 3 o’clock so the Test match happening today was out of the question.
“You have to remember, there’s a good chance that a PCR test taken three days later could test some player positive. And if he’s playing in the XI what then happens to that person? Is he going to be the super spreader who passes it around that puts everyone in jeopardy? And then they have to stay for ten days in England and what then happens to the IPL which is supposed to start four days after they land in Dubai?
“There’s so many questions. It’s not necessarily the case that they’ve tested negative today that they will test negative again. Even if there’s one person that tests positive it puts the whole thing into another dimension.”
Since the news of a physio reporting a positive Test has broken, Karthik said that the Indian team have been isolating in their rooms and expanded on the concerns the squad have about carrying the virus with them to Dubai where they will be joining up with their IPL teammates.
“Yes, they’re all in their rooms, they’ve not moved out since the time they heard about the physio and that’s exactly what they’re doing.
“That’s another thing you’ve got to understand. For so long the IPL teams have already arrived and quarantined and things like that. The Indian team have not had a bubble so to speak up until this Test where they’ve said try and stay in your rooms even during the match, just stay in. But now there are PCR tests which are positive, it’s completely different.
“They’ve been informed that we’re moving from a bubble to a bubble, so we have to have a bubble here whilst we’re in England. So this last Test match, everyone stay in their rooms, order room service, play the Test match, get on with it and then let’s get to the IPL after that.”