The fifth and final Test between India and England in Manchester set to start on Friday (September 10) has now been called off, the England Cricket Board (ECB) announced. The development comes on the back of intense discussions between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the England Cricket Board (ECB) after India’s assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar returned a positive COVID-19 test on Thursday.
"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 unable to field a team and will instead forfeit the match," an ECB statement read.
"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 statement added.
Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test at Emirates Old Trafford, due to start today, will be cancelled.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 10, 2021
It is belived that more than one India player had expressed concerns about taking the field in talks between the BCCI and the team management over the last two days, according to ESPNCricinfo website. The entire India squad returned negative RT-PCR tests on Thursday, but results of a fresh round of testing are expected on Friday morning.
The Indian cricket team on Friday forfeited the fifth and final Test against England after senior players decided against taking the field following a fresh COVID-19 case in the contingent, ending the series 2-2 in Manchester but the ECB soon revised statement removing the mention of 'forfeit' by Indian team. The players had been on the edge after assistant physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for COVID-19. The series result is now still uncertain with India leading 2-1.
The players tested negative but with the 96-hour incubation period also factored in, they didn't want to risk testing positive and ending in 10-day quarantine according to BCCI sources.
Both BCCI and ECB agreed that the Manchester Test could not be postponed even by a day as Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 is set to resume in the United Arab Emirates on September 19. Any delay in IPL 2021 is also out of the question because T20 World Cup 2021 gets underway immediately after the T20 league in October.