The fifth test between England and India is called off and rescheduled indefinitely with a covid case in the Indian camp that’s caused anxiety and fatigue leading to senior Indian players opting out from playing the final test that see’s the series incomplete, both boards have been in conversation and after 17 hours there isn’t a common ground reach yet on the result of the series.
There was no bio bubble in England for this series as players were double dose vaccinated but there was a soft bubble with a very little restrictions, the lifts were accessed by thousands, the ground repeatedly saw a fan appearance and the players coming in from counties or replacements weren’t isolating but that’s the law of land. Eve of the test match, Yogesh Parmar the physiotherapist with the Indian team in Manchester had returned a positive test in lateral flow test and the close contacts would have entered isolation, Yogesh Parmar then had a RT-PCR test and had returned a positive test. It was time for the mandatory press conference but no one from the Indian camp appeared. All Indian players and members involved with the team underwent RT-PCR test and the news yesterday late night was put out that the players have returned negative RT-PCR covid reports and local media claimed that the match was on and will go ahead as scheduled but an official release was awaited. ECB CEO, Tom Harrison spoke to few senior Indian players late in the night and he was conveyed that players have denied to take field and are concerned as many are with families.
Today, couple of hours before the start of test it was reported that Day 1 of the test is called off and was very expected as any official release despite an information of test match being on didn’t see an official release. Minutes after day 1 was called off ECB put out a release stating the Indian camp are unable to field a team and have forfeited the test, that meant the test series was drawn 2-2. Minutes later ECB put out another statement that saw the word forfeited edited and the rest remained same and it’s believed the change was made after BCCI dropped a letter to ECB.
BCCI are anticipating a case or could be precautionary with the incubation period as BCCI have written a letter to ECB requesting to reschedule the test to see the series continue next year when India travels to England for the white-ball series and also requested that the intubation period is of 4-5 days and can cost a lot later on with the IPL on schedule days down the line. Sourav Ganguly will soon be visiting ECB and will talk to Tom Harrison, CEO of ECB for rescheduling the test match. Harrison in conversation with a British media said that we appreciate India’s offer of rescheduling the test match but that will be a stand alone test meaning wouldn’t be a series decider will be a one-off test, that is a possibility that’s hasn’t been proposed isn’t confirmed, he also confirmed there are many more options.
BCCI release : “In lieu (sic) 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.”
Roots of the matter, Ravi Shastri’s book launch event where 150 unmasked outsiders were seen, neither of the boards had officially given clearance for the event that saw many feature from the Indian camp including Indian skipper Virat Kohli. After the event Ravi Shastri had tested positive and then the next day a couple more form the coaching staff Bharat Arun and R. Sridhar had retuned positive tests. The team had returned negative reports and the fourth test didn’t see any delay but possibly is the incubation period that now saw Yogesh Parmar test positive. The British media claims ECB are furious and the information regarding the book launch event was said as a team dinner and the media report also stated a couple of Indian players yesterday were seen out of the hotel, these are claims.
ECB have understood India’s concern with the incubation period and have prioritised mental health of players in this situation but ECB do wish that India forfeit the last test resulting in England levelling the series 2-2. India yet haven’t forfeited being in a good position do wish to see series continue.
For now, the series is not decided as we wait for further developments.