Cricket

India vs England: Fifth Test cancelled after India 'unable to field team', lead series 2-1

India cricket team's junior physio Yogesh Parmar was tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and the team had to cancel its practice session.

India vs England: Fifth Test cancelled after India 'unable to field team', lead series 2-1

The fifth Test between England and India at the Old Trafford in Manchester was cancelled amid chaotic turn of events.

ECB while confirming the news with a statement said that the match stands cancelled as India are unable to field a team.

"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 statement read.

"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."

In an earlier version of the statement, the ECB had said that India have decided to forfeit the match, however, the forfeiture part was later amended.

The news of the match being cancelled comes on the back of the India cricket team's junior physio Yogesh Parmar testing positive for COVID-19 on Thursday.

India cricket team's junior physio Yogesh Parmar was tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and the team had to cancel its practice session. AP

India cricket team's junior physio Yogesh Parmar was tested positive for COVID-19 on Thursday and the team had to cancel its practice session. AP

Parmar was the fourth Indian support staff to test positive after head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach B Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar.

According to PTI, all players of the Indian cricket team have tested negative for COVID-19 on Thursday but one player had expressed concerns over playing the fifth Test.

Ever since the Indian players refused to play despite testing negative on Thursday, there have been continuous back-channel talks between the two boards.

"The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test Match, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test Match," Shah said.

Ultimately the apprehension expressed by Kohli and Co. took precedence.

"The BCCI has always maintained that the safety and well-being of the players is of paramount importance and there will be no compromise on that aspect," Shah said.

Shah thanked the English board for its understanding of the trying circumstances.

"The BCCI would like to thank the ECB for their co-operation and understanding in these trying times. We would like to apologise to the fans for not being able to complete an enthralling series."

It is understood that the COVID-19 rules for the World Test Championship matches do not include forfeiture and that's where Kohli and his men were able to get their way.

Under the competition terms of the WTC, COVID-19 is identified as "acceptable non-compliance should there be a significant impact of it on the team being able to play."

This is because the match can remain cancelled from the competition and with ICC using percentage points system based on points won in matches played, a cancelled match is of no value to any team.

The Indian players feared that the 96-hour incubation period factored in, they were at risk to return positive during the match and end up in 10-day quarantine, according to BCCI sources.

There were many questions that cropped up during the last 12 hours for BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and Shah with a number of factors being taken into account.

The chances of the IPL's schedule, starting 19 September, going haywire were also taken into account as broadcasters and franchises wouldn't have taken the delay lightly.

Also, deferring the game by a day or two would have caused logistical issues as the Indian and English players were supposed to fly together to the UAE in a charter flight.

"There is no guarantee that post Ravi Shastri's book release function which the team attended, there won't be more cases. So players were wary and more so about being in isolation for 10 days," a source said.

With inputs from PTI

Updated Date: September 10, 2021 16:13:05 IST

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