England’s final Test against India is CALLED OFF, just hours before the start, as the tourists REFUSE to play after a Covid outbreak among their backroom staff
- England’s fifth and final Test against India has been called off at short notice
- The news comes just hours before the start of play at a sold-out Old Trafford
- Four members of India’s backroom staff have tested positive for Covid this week
- The tourists have sensationally refused to play on after taking a 2-1 series lead
England’s final Test will NOT go ahead at Old Trafford today after India’s players sensationally refused to play.
The game, due to be played in front of a capacity 21,000 crowd, has been cancelled completely due to a growing Covid outbreak among India’s backroom staff.
The extraordinary development came after a fourth member of India’s team, physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar, tested positive on Wednesday night and joined coach Ravi Shastri and two other members of his staff in isolation.
India recorded a fourth positive Covid test among their backroom staff late this week
England’s players were left in limbo until the fifth Test was called off on Friday morning
Ex-India international Dinesh Karthik tweeted the news to his followers early on Friday
England Cricket’s Twitter then confirmed the shock news that the Test had been cancelled
That led to a day of uncertainty and confusion with India cancelling their training session at Old Trafford and being consigned to their rooms at Manchester’s Radisson Hotel before undergoing another round of PCR tests.
They all came back negative and it seemed as though the green light was given to the deciding Test, with India holding a 2-1 lead in what has been a classic series.
But the key to all this is the resumption of the Indian Premier league in the UAE next week, with India’s players desperate not to miss that at all costs. Hence their concern that they might subsequently test positive and be forced into isolation rather than their scheduled flight to Dubai next Wednesday.
The stands at Old Trafford will remain empty today despite all tickets being sold out
A message on a big screen at Old Trafford confirms the decision to cancel the fifth Test
The news comes after India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for the virus on Sunday
India, though, only have themselves to blame after flouting Covid guidelines and attending a book launch in London unknown to the ECB, as revealed by Sportsmail, two days before the fourth Test at the Oval.
Shastri and his bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar tested positive after that function and remain in isolation in London.
Now the situation has escalated and 21,000 people due to be at Old Trafford today in a Test that is worth £30million in broadcasting and ticket sales has been called off just hours before it was due to start. The ramifications of this could be enormous.
Stewards were the only people present at Old Trafford on Friday morning after the news broke
England’s players had been training without knowing whether play will go ahead this week
After a fourth member of India’s staff tested positive, the players were confined to their hotel
In a statement, the ECB said: ‘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.’