Sourav Ganguly Says Indian Players “Scared Fear” of Contracting Covid-19 After Physio Yogesh Parmar Tested Positive; Round 5 at Emirates Old Trafford was canceled the morning it was due to start; Ganguly says any reprogrammed tests between sides should be a separate fixture
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly says Indian players should not be blamed for refusing to play the fifth round against England, insisting that their physiotherapist’s positive Covid-19 diagnosis left them “scared to death” from get the virus themselves.
The game at Emirates Old Trafford was canceled on Friday morning, hours before it started, and several backroom staff from India tested positive for coronavirus, including physios Nitin Patel and Yogesh Parmar.
India, which led the five-game series 2-1 after winning Test 4 at the Kia Oval by 157 runs last Monday, failed to field a team in Manchester.
Ganguly told the Indian newspaper The Telegraph: “The players refused to play, but they can’t be blamed. The Physio Yogesh Parmar was a very close contact with the players.
“Being the only one available, after Nitin Patel isolated himself, freely mixed with gamers, and even ran his Covid-19 tests. He gave them a massage, it was part of his daily life.
“The players were devastated when they found out that I had tested positive. They were afraid they had contracted the disease and were scared to death. It is not easy to stay in a bubble.
“Of course, you have to respect their feelings.”
Players from India are now set to appear in the rescheduled Indian Premier League, which resumes in the UAE this weekend after being postponed earlier in the year due to the high number of positive Covid cases in India.
ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison has denied that the Old Trafford event was canceled so that the IPL was not put in jeopardy, saying on Friday: “Let me be very clear, I don’t think the IPL has anything to do with this.
“This is not a situation that was created by the reprogrammed IPL, fundamentally I don’t believe it for a second. This Indian cricket team is as passionate about test cricket as the fans are in our country.”
Harrison also said talks were underway with the BCCI about rescheduling the canceled test.
Ganguly insists that if a suitable date is found, the game acts as a separate match and is not part of this summer’s series.
He added: “Let things calm down a bit, then we can discuss and decide. As long as it is held next year, it should be a one-off match, as it cannot be a continuation of the series.”
Watch the IPL live on Sky Sports Cricket between September 19 and October 15.