Manchester Test postponed indefinitely over Covid-19 fears
The fifth Test between England and India has been called off as the tourists were unable to field a team due to fears of an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in their camp.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) initially announced that India had forfeited the Test, but later clarified that was not the case.
India led the five-Test series 2-1 going into the final match at Old Trafford and the ICC will now determine the outcome of the match and series result.
In an updated statement, the ECB said: “Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth 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.”
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said along with the ECB they had “jointly decided” to call off the match.
The BCCI also said that the game may be rescheduled, releasing a statement that read: “The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test Match, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test Match.
“In lieu of the strong relationship between BCCI and ECB, the BCCI has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled Test match. Both the Boards will work towards finding a window to reschedule this Test match.
“The BCCI has always maintained that the safety and well-being of the players is of paramount importance and there will be no comprise on that aspect.”
England are due host India next summer across three T20Is and three ODIs each, with the opening T20 fixture to be held in Manchester on July 1.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison told Sky Sports News an effort would be made by the two boards to stage a “standalone” Test between the two sides at Old Trafford.
“The prospect of us playing a one-off Test match against India as a focal point on this ground to come back and give the fans the thing they have missed out on this time, let’s try and work on that and see if we can deliver it,” he said. (Sky Sports)