As a victorious Team India returned home, Border-Gavaskar Trophy in tow, there was some more good news for the weary travellers. Captain Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Shardul Thakur and Ravi Shastri arrived in Mumbai on Thursday morning staring at another possible period of quarantine before they could go home to their families. After almost 5 continuous months of quarantine living behind them and another round of the same set to begin on January 26, there is no doubt that the players were not looking forward to this.
However, after lengthy discussions with health experts, the Maharashtra government was able to give the champions another bit of good news and send them on their way home without quarantine.
Thank you everyone for sending across all your good wishes 🙏— Ajinkya Rahane (@ajinkyarahane88) January 20, 2021
It’s your constant support and belief in the team that kept us motivated to bring the trophy back home🏆🇮🇳 pic.twitter.com/koPpqcW1VW
As per the rules of the Maharashtra government, all passengers coming in from Europe, UK, South Africa and the Middle East have to undergo a 7-day institutional quarantine followed by 7 more days in isolation at home before they can be out and about. However, considering that the India vs Australia series was played in bio-secure conditions (meaning that the players were all quarantined through the series and did not come into contact with anyone but teammates), the Mumbai Cricket Association appealed to the government to make an exception for them.
According to reports, the MCA put in a request to Sharad Pawar, the former president of the association, to exempt the five returnees from the strict institutional quarantine measures. Knowing that all the players have been in bio-bubbles since they began training for the IPL in August 2020 and that they have each been tested almost every week since, the government has allowed them to carry out their quarantine period at home. Officials also pointed out that this was not some sort of special favour for the cricketers, but in fact in keeping with the rules of exemption mentioned on the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai website.
It will be a quick turnaround for most players returning from the India vs Australia series, as the India vs England series begins on February 5. Ajinkya Rahane, Shardul Thakur and Rohit Sharma have all received call-ups for the series, with Rahane also being appointed the vice-captain after his heroics Down Under. Meanwhile, Prithvi Shaw has been dropped after a bad outing in Australia. Players are expected to reach Chennai by January 26 to begin quarantine procedures for one week before practice starts on February 2.
Virat Kohli will take on the team's captaincy once more, after completing his paternity leave, while Ishant Sharma and Hardik Pandya will be back in the side following injuries. The first India vs England Test begins on February 5.
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