New Delhi: The fifth and final Test against England, which was scheduled from Friday, has been cancelled after India’s assistant physio Yogesh Parmar’s positive tested positive for COVID-19. In a sudden turn of events, the decision to go ahead with the Test was withdrawn.
“Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB (England and Wales Cricket Board) can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled,” the ECB said in a statement.
“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,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, PTI quoted a BCCI source as saying the cancelled fifth and final match could be played later.
Earlier, BBC Test Match Special had reported that the ECB would allow the Test as all the India players PCR COVID Tests had come back negative. The negative tests of all 21 players had increased the chances of the match at Old Trafford going ahead amid concerns.
India was leading the series 2-1. “All the players have tested negative and that’s the good news. But let’s keep our fingers crossed that the match would go ahead,” a senior BCCI source told PTI on Thursday.
Ahead of the fifth and final Test against England, physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for COVID-19 in Manchester. This had led to Team India’s training session for Thursday afternoon being cancelled.
However, there were no COVID-19 related worries in the England camp and Jos Buttler had said everything is fine and the hosts were looking forward to the game.
“We don’t know too much about it at the moment. It would be naive to speculate on what’s going on. At the moment we’re fully expecting the game to go ahead and we’re preparing that way so fingers crossed the game will go ahead. Things are fine in our camp and we are looking forward to the game,” said Buttler in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
This came after India head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar returned positive results to their RT-PCR tests during the fourth Test. They are currently undergoing isolation and can come out only after returning two negative results.
On Sunday, just half an hour before the start of play on Day 4 of the fourth Test, the BCCI said its medical team had isolated Shastri, Bharat Arun, Sridhar, and physio Nitin Patel as a precautionary measure after Shastri’s lateral flow test returned positive on Saturday evening.
The remaining members of the Team India contingent had undergone two Lateral Flow Tests — one on Saturday night and another on Sunday morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for Day 4 of the fourth Test at The Oval against England.
(With ANI inputs)