NEW DELHI : The fifth Test between India and England, which was scheduled to start on Friday, September 10, has been called off, the England announced on Friday. The decision was taken after the BCCI and ECB mutually decided that it is the best way forward in wake of the Covid-19 scare that has gripped the series.
“Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled,” the ECB said in a statement.
“Due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team. We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many.”
The statement from the ECB also mentioned that ‘India will regrettably instead forfeit the match’, but the line was taken off their release shortly after.
Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test at Emirates Old Trafford, due to start today, will be cancelled.
The series is currently 2-1 tilted in favour of India, but the abandonment of 5th Test would likely mean that either Virat Kohli’s team has to forfeit the match or complete the series sometime in the future – most likely in 2022 when India tour England again next year for a scheduled white-ball series featuring three ODIs and three T20Is. It is yet to be confirmed by either board.
India head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive for Covid-19 on the final day of the fourth Test at The Oval, and along with bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar went into isolation. Things escalated further when on Wednesday, another support staff member – Yogesh Parmar – returned a positive test, which casted a shadow over the series-deciding final Test.
All players of the Indian team had on Thursday evening returned negative tests, but it wasn’t enough to convince the two boards. As per ESPNCricinfo and Cricbuzz, certain players had reservations about taking part in the Manchester Test. Not too long ago, it was being reported that the start of the match was likely to be pushed back, and that a decision whether the match will even take place was awaited. But rescheduling the game to Saturday or Sunday had its own effects.