England v India final Test cancelled at last moment due to Covid concerns

Tourists say they are unable to field a team just hours before final match due to start

England players during a nets session on Thursday ahead of the final Test. Photo: John Super/AP Photo

England players during a nets session on Thursday ahead of the final Test. Photo: John Super/AP Photo

 

England’s summer of Test cricket has ended in dramatic fashion after their series finale against India at Old Trafford was cancelled on the first morning of the match following the recent Covid-19 outbreak among the touring party.

The England and Wales Cricket Board believed the fifth Test would go ahead on Thursday evening after India’s players cleared a full round of emergency PCR tests in response to a fourth member of their backroom staff contracting the virus.

But at 8.44am on Friday the governing body announced the match had been called off, leaving the ECB staring at a £30million financial blackhole from lost TV revenues and now due to refund at least 63,000 tickets from the first three sold-out days at Old Trafford.

It also leaves a cloud of uncertainty hanging over the result of the series. Virat Kohli’s side lead 2-1 and the initial statement from the ECB said: “India are regrettably unable to field a team and will instead forfeit the match.”

However this was soon amended with the line about India’s forfeiture removed, pointing to tense ongoing negotiations behind the scenes between the ECB and their counterparts at the Board of Control for Cricket in India.

The updated statement read: “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.

“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.

“Further information will be shared in due course.”

India’s outbreak began during their 157-run victory in the fourth Test at the Oval, with head coach Ravi Shastri first testing positive for Covid-19, followed by bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar. All three were isolated and did not travel to Manchester with the team.

The fourth support staff member tested positive on Wednesday evening, with India’s training session the following day then cancelled and players confined to their rooms as they awaited the results of further PCR Tests.

But despite these results coming back negative it appears a number of India’s players were concerned about proceeding with the Test match. One factor could be that the latest positive Covid-19 case was a staff member who had been treating a number of injuries in the Indian camp after the fourth Test.

It may also be that the Indian Premier League’s impending restart in the United Arab Emirates on September 19th was a factor here, with players due to depart for the tournament on Wednesday. – Guardian

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.