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Depleted squad, travel worries ahead of knockouts

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If India find themselves with fewer than 11 fit players, their fixtures could be rescheduled as per tournament rules

Who are the unavailable players?
India captain Yash Dhull, vice-captain Shaik Rasheed, batter Siddarth Yadav (Rapid Antigen) and wicketkeeper Aaradhya Yadav (RT-PCR) returned positive results. Allrounder Manav Parakh and seam bowler Vasu Vats have shown symptoms of Covid-19.

How does this affect India’s last group-stage game against Uganda?
Having won their first two games against South Africa and Ireland, India are through to the quarter-final from Group B. Their final group game, at the same ground as the Ireland match, is against Uganda on Saturday, January 22.

The mandatory quarantine period for Covid-positive players is ten days, which means India will likely be forced to field the same XI from the last game. ​However, India do not have any substitute fielder or concussion sub available under the current circumstances.

…and what about their quarter-final game?
If favourites India win against Uganda, their quarter-final knockout fixture is on Saturday, January 29 and it could be against defending champions Bangladesh. But that game is on another island – Antigua and Barbuda – and only those who test negative will be allowed to fly out of Trinidad.

While the six players in quarantine are expected to complete their isolation period by then, they will have to present negative tests to get on the plane. Additionally, they will miss valuable team practice sessions, and it remains to be seen what their physical condition is at the end of the infection cycle.

What if more India players test positive?
ICC’s head of integrity Alex Marshall had stated before the competition that “merely registering a positive PCR test result within a team will not result in the automatic postponement or cancellation of fixtures.” So, as long as they have 11 players fit, India may have to fulfil their current scheduled fixtures.

But if they have less than 11 available, the tournament’s Event Technical Committee will look to postpone India’s fixtures or move their games to another venue – say, in Trinidad itself. This is stated in the competition’s playing conditions and the same rule applies to every team that may find themselves in such a situation.

While this allows the ICC to be flexible with the running of the U-19 World Cup, their decision will be subject to the games being scheduled within reason and without unreasonably affecting the other teams or the competition.

Were the BCCI prepared for such situations?
The BCCI had announced five reserve players – Rishit Reddy, Uday Saharan, Ansh Gosai, Amit Raj Upadhyay, PM Singh Rathore – before the competition, but ESPNcricinfo understands they did not travel to the Caribbean. If they are needed, they will have to fly out to the Caribbean and serve a quarantine period before they can be added to the squad.

Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx


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