'Virat Kohli e-mailed the BCCI at midnight': David Gower claims Indian players 'hightailed' out of England for IPL
The wildfire that was created due to the cancellation of the fifth Test between India and England at Manchester on Friday refuses to extinguish. With so many reports emerging – some claiming the call was taken due to the reluctance shown by some of the Indian cricketers because of Covid fears, while others linked it to the resumption of the IPL which is just around the corner – the real reason behind the abandonment of the series-deciding final Test remains unclear.
While many former Indian and English cricketers – from Nasser Hussain to Sunil Gavaskar to Michael Atherton to Virender Sehwag – have had their say on the matter, David Gower has made a bit of a revelation as to what had happened between India captain Virat Kohli and the BCCI on the eve of the start of the Manchester Test match. Gower stated that he did not see the cancellation coming and hopes there is further clarity on the entire incident.
"Wow! No one, least of all I, saw that coming. It leads us into unprecedented territories. I mean I know other matches have been abandoned… sometimes a few balls bowled and various other circumstances but to have the thing called off at the last moment – Virat Kohli e-mailed the BCCI at midnight the day before – the whole sequence of events needs explaining a little bit better," Gower told Cricket.com
"I was up there on the first morning on my way to watch Day 1 to enjoy some cricket, talk to people about the game to talk about the hospitality. But by the time I got there, of course, the situation had rather changed."
With several Indian players, including Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Virat Kohli and Mohammed Siraj having already arrived in the UAE through charter flights to prepare for the IPL, the blame game is being laid on India and that its players prioritised the IPL, thus leading to the Manchester Test being called off. While Gower is not certain that it's true, the former England captain says it will be 'disappointing' if it turns out that way.
"The worrying thing for me is this: If the IPL was so very closely linked to this, then that to me is very disappointing because… I mean sound old, crusty, but for all those people like me and dare I say, Virat… the last time he was in England, he made a big point about how important Test match cricket is to him… So, for all of us who like Test cricket and value it as the best part of the game, to see a Test abandoned like this was tragic," Gower added.
"Over the next days and week, more things would emerge. One or two things we haven't heard so far might come out to the public ears. But it does seem by the way that the Indian players have high-tailed out of town so quickly, already in the UAE preparing for the IPL. Maybe you can argue that it is sensible given the circumstances. It gives them the best chance to be part of it. But maybe that suggests that the IPL and cancellation were linked. There were some private things said between the Indian team and Indian board."