Following Ravi Shastri's book release function, he along with three other members of the support staff had tested positive for Covid-19. India skipper Virat Kohli and the rest of the team were also present at the function and most of them were apparently unmasked given the relaxation of rules in the UK.
The fifth Test at Old Trafford, Manchester was called off as India were reluctant to take the field after the coronavirus outbreak within their camp, with physio Yogesh Parmar testing positive turning out to be the final nail in the coffin.
However, according to a BCCI official, neither Shastri nor Kohli sought permission from the board before attending the book release. "No permission was sought either from president (Sourav Ganguly) or from the secretary (Jay Shah). Perhaps they might have thought that since health safety rules have been relaxed in the UK, they didn't need permission," a senior BCCI official, privy to the developments, told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
However, the official also added that Shastri and Kohli are likely to escape without any punishment from the BCCI, but the role of administrative manager Girish Dongre has come under scrutiny as it was his responsibility to ensure that the necessary protocols were followed, especially when the team was set to attend an event like this.
"There is very little chance that Shastri and Kohli will be penalised for this act of theirs with the T20 World Cup around the corner (in October). Also, Shastri is leaving for good after that."
"Kohli is the captain. Maybe a rap on the knuckles at best. Maybe it's good time to ask Dongre that what's his domain of work as an administrative manager," the official said.
It is now an open secret that skipper Virat Kohli led the players in their demand for cancellation of the match and they were successful in having their way after several rounds of talks with BCCI brass as well as England Cricket Board Chief Executive Tom Harrison who tried to convince a "visibly scared Indian skipper".
Kohli, however, would just not relent. "The BCCI wanted them to play but such were the anxiety levels among some notable senior players that both boards were concerned about their mental health. One can understand that they were scared of another 10-day isolation and bubble life," the official said.
"But the point here is that why didn't they apply common sense when they agreed to attend Shastri's book launch where outsiders were allowed?" he asked.
That event is now being seen as a super spreader affecting four support staff members apart from Shastri. So the question that is now being asked in the BCCI corridors is whether secretary Jay Shah's letter asking the team to avoid crowds after Rishabh Pant tested positive during the break after the World Test Championship final, was at all taken seriously?
In that particular letter, Shah had asked the players not to attend crowded events like the Wimbledon and the European Cup football, where some of the members of the contingent were seen.
"Yes, there has been relaxation in the UK but they could have avoided this gathering of outsiders. These people attended social gatherings and then when there was a case, they got scared," he said.
(With inputs from PTI)