India tour of England: The BCCI has successfully managed to negotiate relaxation to travel restrictions in the UK as Virat Kohli-led Team India travels to England for a three-month-long tour. With India on the UK ‘red list’ due to surging COVID-19 cases, as per government rules, people with travel history to India were not be allowed entry apart from UK and Ireland citizens. Hence, BCCI was negotiating a way to keep the ICC WTC Final and the England Tour afloat.
While the BCCI had already kept the team ready to leave for the UK on June 2, all they needed was an official seal from the country’s government. Now, that it has come, Virat Kohli & Co will arrive in the UK on June 3 and will undergo hard quarantine in Southampton hotels. India will take on New Zealand in the ICC WTC Final from June 18.
India tour of England: For India tour of England, the team will begin assembling in Mumbai by May 19 and will be put in a bio-bubble from May 24 before leaving for the UK on June 2. For Mumbai-based cricketers, they will be able to join the team bubble on May 24 directly.
To facilitate safe passage for cricketers, BCCI has arranged charter flights from Hyderabad, Delhi and Chennai. For cricketers who live in Bengaluru have been instructed to drive to Chennai and take the flight. As for others like Wriddhiman Saha and Mohammed Shami who live in Kolkata, they will need to take a commercial flight to travel to Mumbai. The same goes for cricketers from Gujarat and other Indian cities which are far from the three pick-up points.
India tour of England: As families of the cricketers will also travel to the UK along with the team, they have been asked to join the bio-bubble in Mumbai. However, the relaxed norms only extend to players and support staff and not families. As the team will be in England until mid-September, the BCCI is currently negotiating their entries as well.
For the safety of the players and to maintain the integrity of the bio-bubble, the players, support staff and family members have been given door-step COVID-19 tests. Once the players reach Mumbai, they will be further tested before entering the bio-bubble, where they will undergo testing again.
If a player tests positive, it is unlikely that he will be able to travel to England. The women’s team will also board the same charter flight on June 2 for their one-off Test and three-match ODIs and T20Is that will begin on June 16. Apart from India, Pakistan has also been given relaxations for their tour to the UK.
“We have been asked to gather on May 19. After the hard quarantine, we will fly to England in June,” one of the players travelling with the women’s team told InsideSport.