Former India wicketkeeper Farokh Engineer has come out in defence of India head coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli as the pair have been copping severe criticism for attending Shastri’s book launch ahead of the fourth Test.
The coach then went down with covid-19 along with the bowling and fielding coach and they all missed the fourth Test. Assistant physio Yogesh Parmar then tested positive for the virus two days before the fifth Test, which was then eventually called off.
Farokh Engineer said that there had been no rules broken by Shastri and Kohli while they attended the event – there was no bubble during this series – and the blaming and pinpointing on the duo is unfair.
“People are blaming Ravi Shastri for it. He has done wonders for Indian cricket. He has done tremendous… Ravi and Virat both. You can’t blame them for going to a book launch. They did not go outside the hotel; they were inside. It’s very easy to blame somebody, to pinpoint somebody,” Farokh Engineer told Sports Tak.
“People keep coming to us for selfie, and all the time you can’t say no. Ravi and Virat must have done the same thing, or shaken hands with people. But how would they know if someone is Covid positive? So you can’t really blame Ravi and Virat although I believe a lot of blame is being laid on him.”
We were looking forward to beating England again convincingly: Farokh Engineer
The 83-year-old is confident that India would have beaten England and claimed the series 3-1 at Old Trafford. He expressed puzzlement over the multiple news reports which state that the Indian players had tested negative a day before the game, but also refused to take the field.
“It’s a big news but also disappointing news. But to be honest, I don’t know what’s happening because we are getting conflicting reports. On one hand, I’m hearing that all 11 Indian players are fit to play, whereas in England the reports say that Indian team has said they cannot the field. Hence, they have requested the ECB to cancel the game.
“But, apart from anything else, it is disappointing because we were looking forward to beating England again convincingly and win 3-1, but that is not going to happen unfortunately. I don’t know what is happening. Everyone is in the dark. I’m sorry I can’t give you any more information. I wish I knew,” the former cricketer concluded.
The BCCI, after the cancellation of the fifth Test, has offered the ECB to play a reschedule Test. Both the boards and the ICC continue their talks regarding the fate of the fifth Test.