'The villain of the piece was not India': Nasser Hussain has a different take on 5th Test cancellation
Former England captain Nasser Hussain refused to blame India for the cancellation of the fifth and final Test at Old Trafford in Manchester. BCCI and the IPL have been in the firing line ever since the last match of the India-England series got cancelled due to Covid-19 scares in the Indian camp.
Many former England cricketers including Michael Vaughan and Steve Harmison have blamed the IPL schedule for the Indian cricketers' reluctance to take the fielding in Manchester despite them testing negative. Hussain, however, said India were not the villains here but the problem is with 'cricket's relentless schedule.'
"The people I felt most sorry for during Friday's extra-ordinary turn of events were a group in our game who habitually deserve more respect - the fans - and the villain of the piece was not India but cricket’s relentless schedule," Hussain wrote in his column for Daily Mail.
Hussain then went on to explain the cancelled Test would have an impact on the thousands of spectators who had made their way to Manchester to catch two really good teams in battle it out for the series.
"On Friday afternoon, I boarded a train south full of gutted supporters. Hours earlier, some poor bloke from Edinburgh came up to me at the ground and asked me for a photograph. He faced a long journey home.
"Spectators are always the last people we think about. Slow over-rates and going off early for bad light when there are floodlights is one thing. This is quite another.
"Sure, they will get their money back but they will not get to see any action, will not be reimbursed for travel and accommodation and are missing out on what might have been a thrilling conclusion to a fabulous series," he added.
Hussain said the fact that IPL was about to begin just four days after the scheduled end of the fifth Test, made rescheduling the match impossible.
"This was a complete and utter mess. Unfortunately, though, it is where we are in the world of cricket right now due to a packed schedule and the elephant in the room that is the Indian Premier League.
"As soon as Covid got into the tourists’ camp, some of the decision-making was about that tournament, and it is worth remembering that India have always been wary about the positioning of this Test match so close to it," he said.