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Indian players, double vaccinated, to undergo series of tests in England

While England cricket has been hit by a series of positive COVID-19 cases, the testing for the Indian team members, currently in England, has started. Virat Kohli & Co, who have been on a three-week break post the World Test Championship (WTC) final last month, were tested for COVID-19 on Saturday, and will have to undergo further testing in the coming weeks.

Along with the players, their family members have also been tested. The first round of testing happened a day after the vaccination drive for the members of the touring party was completed.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCC), along with UK's National Health Service, organised the second dose of vaccination for the members on July 7 and 9.

The testing for Indian players comes close to the heels of positive cases of COVID-19 in English cricket. Seven members of the England national team tested positive just before the start of their white-ball series against Pakistan last week. All of them - three players and four members of the support staff - are under quarantine.

Meanwhile, a positive case of COVID-19 was recorded in the Derbyshire county team forcing the cancellation of their game against Essex on Monday.

Only a day earlier, a member of the Kent County side had also tested positive, leading to the isolation of the players of the county. Once in Durham, the Indian squad will not be put in any bubble, as has been the case in every cricket series the team has been involved in since last year. The players have been told that it will only be a bio-secure environment with a strict advisory to maintain all the social distancing norms.

The Indian team will play a couple of intra-squad games which will sandwich a three-day warmup match against Select County XI from July 20 in Durham. The first Test of the five-match series starts in Nottingham on August 4.

Meanwhile, on a sadder note, former India batsman and member of the 1983 World Cupwinning side Yashpal Sharma passed away on Tuesday (July 13). The 66-year-old is reported to have
suffered a cardiac arrest. Yashpal represented India in 37 Tests and 42 ODIs for India between 1978 and 1985. A resolute middle-order batsman, Yashpal made his India debut in 1978
in an ODI against Pakistan in Sialkot. The following year he made his Test debut at Lord's against England and played in three of the four Tests in the series. A maiden Test hundred
arrived in Delhi later that year against Australia, a knock he followed with a second-innings 85* in Kolkata in the following Test. Yashpal's next Test hundred came more than two years later, but his 140 against England in Chennai came in a record 316-run stand with GR Viswanath as the two batted an entire day.

An excellent runner between wickets, Yashpal was a handy batsman in India's middleorder at the 1983 World Cup. He set the tone for the tournament with an 89 against two-time and defending champions West Indies at Old Trafford in India's tournament opener. When India returned to Manchester for the semifinal against England, he once again top-scored with 61 to
put India in the final. In all, he scored 2489 international runs to go with his 8933 first class runs at an average of 44.88 including 21 centuries. He represented Punjab, Haryana and Railways on the domestic circuit. Post retirement, Yashpal served as a national selector between 2004 and 2005 and again between 2008 and 2011.

He is survived by his wife Renu Sharma, two daughters Puja, Preeti and son Chirag Sharma.

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