Salman Butt on Ravi Shastri Photograph:( AFP )
Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has defended Ravi Shastri after his criticism over his book launch event in London following him testing positive for Covid-19 amid India-England Tests.
The India-England Test series ended on a sad note as the fifth and final Test couldn't take place after Covid-19 crisis took over in the Virat Kohli-led Indian camp. It all started with head coach Ravi Shastri testing positive for Covid-19 during the fourth and penultimate Test, followed by the bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar testing being detected by the virus.
Before the start of the fifth and final Test match, at Manchester, India's head physio Nitin Patel and Yogesh Parmar (who replaced Nitin after his positive report) also tested positive for the virus; forcing the Indian players to request the tour to be cancelled.
After the tour has been cancelled, many have lashed out at Shastri for spreading the virus, especially after his book launch event in London -- where Covid-19 protocols were followed. The event, thus, is being labelled as the major source behind the spread of the deadly virus within Team India camp.
However, former Pakistan captain Salman Butt has defended Shastri and said, "Both the teams were existing inside a high-protection zone. As far as the rest of England is concerned, we saw that nobody was wearing a mask in the crowd. Everyone was seated next to each other without any social distancing. Everything is open there and, on that front, he (Shastri) is right."
Butt further pointed out how Jarvo (or Jarvo 69) invaded the pitch on as many as three occasions during the India-England Tests and, hence, having no Covid-19 protocols made it easier for the virus to spread in the Indian camp. "Even when Jarvo intruded onto the pitch and collided with [Jonny] Bairstow who batting at the time, apart from him being apprehended, nothing else was said or done. So, it didn’t look like a strict bio-bubble at all. If such a thing happened in an Asian country, England would have caused problems and other countries would have talked about it too. Because it happened in England, then it’s not a problem.
“If Ravi Shastri did step out, where were the concerned authorities? Why wasn’t he told that he can’t break the bubble? There are people who are present to assure and maintain the bubble and they stop people from going out. They stop people from going too close to each other and make sure there is enough distance. Nothing of this sort was there,” added Butt.
The India-England Tests ended with Kohli & Co. having a 2-1 lead in the five Tests. The ICC is yet to adjudicate upon the status of the final Test, which was to be held at Old Trafford, Manchester.