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In a major setback to UTCA’s preparations ahead of the start of the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy to be played next month, pacer Shreshth Nirmohi, 29, and middle-order batsman Raman Bishnoi, 22, tested positive for Covid-19 on Sunday. While the probables for the Syed Mushtaq Ali T-20 Trophy assembled at Sector 16 Stadium on Monday for a special session on Covid-19, Nirmohi and Bishnoi will remain in isolation for the next 10 days. In the schedule released by BCCI for the T-20 tournament, the teams will assemble in their respective hubs by January 2 and players are required to undergo Covid-19 test before the team’s departure. Chandigarh has been placed in plate group and will play their opening match against Nagaland on January 11 at Chennai.

“I had appeared for the Yo Yo test on Saturday. At that time, my Covid-19 test report had come negative. Yesterday, I felt some bodyache and went for Covid-19 test again. My report came positive. I am currently in isolation at my home and will follow all the required measures and regulation in the isolation period,” Nirmohi said.

Last season, the young pacer was the spearhead of UTCA’s bowling attack as he picked up a total of 32 wickets in seven matches during UTCA”s campaign in Ranji Trophy plate group. While the team failed to enter the knock-outs, Nirmohi’s heroics with the new ball impressed all. Bishnoi, who amassed 549 runs, including three centuries and two centuries in Ranji Trophy plate group last year, was a vital cog for the team in the middle order. While the duo will complete their required 10-day isolation on December 30, UTCA is yet to take a final call on their availability for the tournament. As per BCCI, a squad of players and support staff cannot be more than 30 for the T-20 tournament with a maximum of 20 players and 10 support staff. While the plate group has eight teams, including Chandigarh, each team will play five matches. UTCA will play its league matches against Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. “As per the protocol, both Sreshth and Raman will be in isolation for 10 days starting from the day of their positive test report. They can be tested on December 30 and if their test report comes negative, a decision can be taken on their inclusion in the team after consultation with the players and officials,” a UTCA official said.

On Saturday, 49 probables had passed the fitness test after Covid-19 test from the medical team of GMSH-16. On Monday, Manan Vohra, who was the UTCA captain in their maiden season in BCCI domestic competitions last year, along with other players attended the Covid-19 awareness camp.

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