ENG v IND 2021: ‘You can’t blame them for going to a book launch’, Farokh Engineer defends Kohli and Shastri

After the cancellation of the fifth Test between India and England at Old Trafford, visiting skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri have come under the scanner for attending a book launch in London ahead of the fourth Test.

Shastri’s book, titled ‘Stargazing: The Players in My Life’, had a launch event on August 31, two days before the start of the Oval Test.

Meanwhile, former India cricketer Farokh Engineer has defended Kohli and Shastri, saying they can’t be blamed for going to the book launch as it was not outside the hotel.

“People are blaming Ravi Shastri for it. He has done wonders for Indian cricket. He has done tremendous… Ravi and Virat both. You can’t blame them for going to a book launch. They did not go outside the hotel; they were inside. It’s very easy to blame somebody, to pinpoint somebody,” said Engineer in an interview to Sports Tak.

Incidentally, Shastri and three other support staff members tested positive for COVID-19 during the penultimate Test while assistant physio Yogesh Parmar contracted the virus on the eve of the now-cancelled fifth Test.

“People keep coming to us for a selfie, and all the time you can’t say no. Ravi and Virat must have done the same thing, or shaked hands with people. But how would they know if someone is Covid positive? So you can’t really blame Ravi and Virat although I believe a lot of blame is being laid on him,” added Engineer.

He was left perplexed by conflicting reports in the media over the availability of the Indian team for the fifth Test.

“It’s big news but also disappointing news. But to be honest, I don’t know what’s happening because we are getting conflicting reports. On one hand, I’m hearing that all 11 Indian players are fit to play, whereas in England the reports say that Indian team has said they cannot take the field. Hence, they have requested the ECB to cancel the game.”

“But, apart from anything else, it is disappointing because we were looking forward to beating England again convincingly and win 3-1. But that is not going to happen, unfortunately. I don’t know what is happening. Everyone is in the dark. I’m sorry I can’t give you any more information. I wish I knew,” concluded Engineer.