The ECB confirms that India cannot present a team at Old Trafford due to fears of a spike in Covid-19 cases in their camp; India canceled a practice session on Thursday before the match after a member of their support staff tested positive
India’s head coach Ravi Shastri (left) tested positive for Covid-19 during the fourth test at The Oval
The fifth test between England and India has been canceled because tourists were unable to present a kit due to fears of an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in their camp.
India canceled a practice session on Thursday before the match after a member of its support staff tested positive for Covid-19.
Head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive during India’s fourth test win at The Oval and has since been isolated with bowling coach Bharat Arun, field coach R Sridhar and physical therapist Nitin Patel.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) initially announced that India had lost the event, but later clarified that this was not the case. India led the five-round series 2-1 before the final match at Old Trafford and the ICC will now determine the outcome of the match and the outcome of the series.
In an updated statement, the ECB said: “Following ongoing discussions with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth England-India men’s event, which will begin today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be canceled.
“Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases within the camp, India is unfortunately unable to present a team.
“We send our sincerest apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience for many.
“More information will be shared in due course.”
The Cricket Control Board in India (BCCI) said along with the ECB that they had “jointly decided” to cancel the match.
The BCCI also said that the game may be rescheduled, releasing a statement that said: “The BCCI and the ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test Match, however, the Covid-19 outbreak in the contingent. The Indian team forced the decision to cancel the Old Trafford Test Match.
“In lieu of the strong relationship between the BCCI and the ECB, the BCCI has offered the ECB a rescheduling of the canceled test match. Both boards will work to find a window to reschedule this test match.
“The BCCI has always maintained that the safety and well-being of the players is of the utmost importance and there will be no compromise in that regard.”
Players were to stop playing in the rescheduled Indian Premier League in the UAE as of September 19 at the end of the final test in Manchester.
India goalkeeper Rishabh Pant and net launcher Dayanand Garani tested positive for Covid-19 before the test series.
Lancashire Cricket Club said they were “absolutely devastated by the late cancellation”, and that full refunds will be issued to all ticket holders.
Lancashire Chief Executive Officer Daniel Gidney said: “We would like to fully apologize to ticket holders and all those who have or must travel to Emirates Old Trafford.”
“A full refund will be issued, but we thank many fans, attending this test match is more than just the monetary value.
“After the last 18 months that we have all experienced through the pandemic, it is a fixture that cricket fans in the Northwest have waited for most of the 18 months.”
The statement added: “We are working closely with the Cricket Board of England and Wales on the next steps and the finer details that will follow as a result of this cancellation.”
No test match has been scheduled at Old Trafford in 2022.
England will host India next summer in three T20Is and three ODIs each, with the first T20 meeting taking place in Manchester on July 1.
Former England captain Nasser Hussain said Sky Sports News: “I have a lot of sympathy for the Indian players as they have had two physiotherapists (positive test) and the second would have been treating all the players with some body aches before a fifth test match.
“You can’t do physical therapy without close contact. Even those players have tested negative a couple of times, the incubation period means they are worried that two or three days after the test match will test positive and three or four players will drop.