Talks on between BCC-ECB on rescheduling the cancelled Manchester Test

10th September 2021

10th September 2021

The fifth and final Test between India and England at Old Trafford in Manchester has been cancelled though the last hasn’t been heard on it. 

However, on a day of fast developments, it is learnt that BCCI and ECB are looking to reschedule this Test. 

"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,” a BCCI statement read. 

India are due to return to the UK in 2022 for three T20Is and three ODIs and a Test could possibly be fitted into that itinerary. 

The reason forwarded has been the refusal of Indian team to go ahead with the match due to Covid-19 fears but what’s unclear whether the match has been forfeited or not which would decide if the series scoreline ought to read 2-1 or 2-2. 

The International Cricket Council (ICC) is likely to clear the fog on the matter after consulting it with the match referee Chris Broad. 

However, as per the World Test Championship playing conditions, Covid-19 outbreak is an acceptable reason to abandon a Test match. 

"Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team," the ECB said in a statement. "We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many.”

The development comes on the back of intense discussions between the BCCI and the ECB after India's assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar returned a Covid-19 positive on Wednesday. 

It’s learnt that some Indian players were reluctant to take fields even though the entire squad returned negative RT-PCR Tests on Thursday. Another round of tests have been conducted and their result is awaited. 

It is understood that the players and both boards suspect another case emerging from this round of tests, and hence the BCCI told the ECB that India would struggle to put out a playing XI for the fifth Test, which was to be played at Old Trafford from September 10 to 14.

It is understood the BCCI did ask the players to keep their bags ready to fly out to the UAE for the IPL well ahead of the scheduled departure date of September 15, when the bulk of the India and England players were to board charter flights to join their franchises.

Then on Friday morning, a few hours before the official toss time, the Indian camp received a message on their team WhatsApp group. The first message said: "The match has been called off. It's impt that each one of you stay in your room." About 10 minutes later another message popped up on the group: "We are unable to arrange breakfast in your room so if you want you can go to the restaurant to have your meal."

It was not the first instance of such mixed messages circulating in the India camp. After the entire squad returned negative RT-PCR tests on Thursday, it is understood that during one of the meetings with the BCCI, several players grouped into one room for the virtual discussion.

The drama began after Parmar experienced Covid-19 symptoms immediately after returning from the first day of India's training at Old Trafford on Wednesday. A positive lateral flow test triggered the BCCI medical team to send the entire squad back to their rooms, since Parmar had been in close contact with several India players in the last week. Parmar had only taken charge midway into the fourth Test at the Oval after lead physio Nitin Patel went into isolation after being identified as a close contact of India head coach Ravi Shastri, who tested positive on the third evening of the fourth Test at The Oval.

While three members of the contingent - Patel, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar -were identified as immediate contacts of Shastri, it was far more difficult to determine who the close contacts of Parmar were, considering he was treating a wider group of players. This included Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Siraj, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma. These players have been mingling among the wider group, which has made identifying close contacts even more complicated.


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