After intervention from Sharad Pawar, the likes of Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, and Ravi Shastri have been granted Quarantine exemptions by Maharashtra Government on Thursday. Meanwhile, it has been revealed that the Indian team will be joining the bubble in two batches - on January 23 and 26.
The Indian team returned via Dubai and then took flights to respective places in the country to have a little family time before joining the bubble for the home series against England which will be the return of international cricket to the country after a gap of 11 months. Thus a quarantine could've had an adverse effect on the players and when the issue was raised at the Maharashtra government, permission was granted successfully.
Cricbuzz reported that Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Shardul Thakur, and Ravi Shastri arrived in Mumbai on Thursday (January 21) morning and they directly joined their family members after the authorities at the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) requested their former president Sharad Pawar to ensure that the 14-day quarantine is not imposed on them.
"We requested Mr. Pawar to help obtain an exemption from institutional isolation for these players. They have been in quarantine since August and have also had regular Covid tests. The exemption was obtained at around midnight (on Wednesday)," an MCA official told Cricbuzz.
As a matter of fact, on December 21, the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) released guidelines for passengers coming from Europe, UK, South Africa, and the Middle East, 14-day isolation is mandatory with half of the period in institutional quarantine. Given the players returned via Dubai, by EK504 flight, a quarantine was a must but now they have now evaded that.
"This is because of the sudden emergence of a fast-spreading Covid-19 variant in the UK which is believed to be more transmissible than the original strain. But we understand the bio-bubble these players were in and the regular testing they had to undergo in Australia. Also, it is not that we have not granted exemption in the past. The MCGM website lists out the conditions when an exemption can be granted," the quarantine in-charge Anil Wankhede said.
Meanwhile, it has emerged that the players who returned from Australia will join the Indian team bio-bubble on January 26 while rest of the pack, who are selected but were not a part of the Australia series, will be joining the bubble on January 23. Every player will have to be in a seven-day quarantine before they can start practising in a group from February 2.
"A hotel has been booked for the teams near the Chepauk and the players will be allowed to practise only from February 2," a Tamil Nadu Cricket Association (TNCA) official said.