Fifth test match between India and England has been postponed indefinitely; BCCI prioritizes players safety

The fifth and the final test between England and India which was scheduled to take place at Old Trafford, Manchester from September 10 has been indefinitely postponed to a later date, probably next year. ECB and BCCI mutually agreed to cancel the test match amid fears due to the covid-19 pandemic.

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“Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.,” ECB said in a statement. A previous version of the statement had indicated that India would ‘forfeit the match’ which has since been removed.

However, India have not won the series. The series is currently poised with a 2-1 lead taken by the Indian team. As of now the Indian team will leave England and head towards UAE for the 2nd leg of 2021 edition of IPL. According to the IPL protocols, players will immediately move to the bio-bubble.

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Ever since India’s second physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for covid-19, concerns have been raised on whether the test match will be played on time or not. Between Thursday night and Monday morning, ECB and BCCI held a number of meetings that lasted till midnight and resumed again on sunrise, as per UK time. ECB had given BCCI two options:-

a) delay the test match by 2 days

b) cancel the test.

BCCI asked the players who did not agree on forfeiting the match as they worked so hard over the past few months. The Indian players suggested to play the match at a later date. Delaying the test match by 48 hours would have put the IPL at a risk. All the teams have arrived in UAE a month before and have started their preparations for the tournament.

The IPL cannot be delayed because just after the conclusion of the tournament the ICC T20 World Cup is in line. Further the players did not want to risk their lives when there has been an active case of covid-19 around them for the past 48 hours. The players cannot be risked as they are with their families.

So, the BCCI mutually decided with ECB to play the fifth and the final test next year when India would visit England for the limited over series. India are scheduled to play 3 ODIs and 3 T20s next year so the fifth test can be scheduled to that time.

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