India vs England: Covid-19 scare leads to cancellation of 5th Test in Manchester

  • The fifth Test between India and England, which was scheduled to start on Friday, September 10 has been cancelled 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.
Virat Kohli's India is currently leading the series 2-1. (Getty)
Virat Kohli's India is currently leading the series 2-1. (Getty)
Updated on Sep 10, 2021 01:42 PM IST
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By, New Delhi

The fifth Test between India and England, which was scheduled to start on Friday, September 10, has been called off, the England and Wales Cricket Board 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 word 'forfeit' was taken down and the sentence was modified in their released shortly after.

The series is currently 2-1 in favour of India, and while confusion lasted over the fate of the Test series, the BCCI, in an official statement, announced that both cricketing boards are working towards finding a window to reschedule the cancelled Test. With a packed cricketing calendar ahead, it is unsure as to when and where the Test match can be slotted, but the most likely window appears to be India's 2022 tour of England, when the two teams are scheduled to play white-ball series featuring three ODIs and three T20Is.

"In lieu of the strong relationship between BCCI and ECB, the BCCI has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled Test match. Both the Boards will work towards finding a window to reschedule this Test match," the BCCI stated.

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, on Thursday evening, had returned negative tests, but apparently it wasn't convincing enough for the Test match to go on as per schedule. As per reports in 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 going to be pushed back, and that a decision on whether the match will take place at all was awaited. 

However, any alteration in rescheduling the game in a short span of time had its own effects. With the IPL 2021 set to resume from September 19, postponing the Test by either 24 or 48 hours would have put the T20 league at risk, where teams have been preparing for close to three weeks. The chances of IPL being delayed was never an option either as the ICC T20 World Cup begins just two days after the final.

 

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Friday, January 28, 2022