Great news for Indian cricket fans as young wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who tested positive for COVID-19, has completed his mandatory 10-day isolation period and is recovering well from the dreaded Coronavirus. Pant completed his stipulated 10-day isolation at an acquaintance’s place in London. However, the 23-year-old is yet to join the team bubble in Durham. He will also miss the three-day warm-up match against a County Select XI starting July 20 at Chester-le-Street.

Meanwhile, in the absence of Pant, KL Rahul will keep wickets for the Indian cricket team in the practice match. The match also provides an opportunity to opener Mayank Agarwal to fight to reclaim his place in Indian Test eleven. The match has been accorded first-class status, a first for India in many years since Mahendra Singh Dhoni took over as captain. The Jharkhand dasher believed that an ‘official match’ robbed all players from getting some game time.

However, the team management wanted a proper first-class game to get into the groove before the start of the Test series next month.

According to BCCI sources, Pant, who had tested positive for COVID-19, has n and is “recovering well” but he is yet to join the team bubble in Durham. “Even if Pant would have reached in time for the practice game, he would have been given adequate rest to get back in peak physical condition. He has been asymptomatic but would need to train well ahead of the first Test in Nottingham,” a senior BCCI official was quoted by PTI.

It is also not clear when Pant will join the squad, although he is expected to be available for selection for the first Test at Trent Bridge.

“In any case both Pant and Wriddhiman, who is isolated as a precautionary measure will be available for first Test.”

As it had been reported earlier, Rahul, who has been doing keeping drills, will don the big gloves for the game. However, it will be Mayank, whose form will be closely monitored by the team management as he is likely to partner Rohit Sharma in the first Test after Shubman Gill was ruled out of the series with shin splints.

Mayank hasn’t been in best of forms in Australia and had lost his place to Rohit, who missed the first two Tests Down Under due to quarantine rules post hamstring injury break.

While Rahul has also scored bulk of his 2000 runs opening the innings, it is understood that he is being considered as a middle-order batsman and may be used later in the series in case one of the senior batters (read Ajinkya Rahane) don’t get back to form.

Against a team comprising mostly of youngsters, with only James Bracey being a current England international, India might just try both Rahul and Mayank if they get second innings. The match being a three-day affair, the probability of that isn’t high.

In the bowling department, Mohammed Siraj will like to give a good account of himself and Jasprit Bumrah wouldn’t mind getting a few wickets under his belt just like Ravichandran Ashwin did last week for Surrey.