Wednesday September 22, 2021

India vs England fifth Test cancelled due to COVID concerns

Due to fears of a surge in COVID cases inside the tourist camp, India are unable to field a team
September 10, 2021
A picture from the third Test between England and India. — AFP
A picture from the third Test between England and India. — AFP

MANCHESTER: Due to COVID-19 concerns, the fifth  and final Test match between England and India due to start Friday has been cancelled  just hours before the match in Manchester was due to start.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said fears over the coronavirus related to an outbreak among backroom staff had left the tourists unable to field a team at Old Trafford.

Play should have gotten underway at 11:00 am local time (1000 GMT) but just over two hours before the start, the ECB announced that the match would not take place.

"Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), the ECB can confirm that the fifth Test between England and India men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled," an ECB statement said.

"Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team."

India cancelled their final training session and mandatory pre-match press conference on Thursday after reports that another support staff member had tested positive for COVID-19.

India were already without head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar, who had all previously tested positive.

It appeared the match was going ahead when a fresh round of tests within the India camp produced a set of negative results but following talks between the ECB and BCCI the fixture was called off.

Reports said several Indian players harboured concerns over the spread of the virus and were unwilling to play, meaning India could not put out a team.

India were 2-1 up in the five-match contest and bidding for a fourth series win in England.

The status of the match appears uncertain after the ECB retracted an initial statement that India had "forfeited" the fifth Test.