The fifth and final Test in Manchester has been postponed indefinitely due to the Covid-19 outbreak within the India squad. In simpler words, the match is cancelled for now. In a statement released on Friday, the BCCI said it was in talks with the ECB over conducting the match at a later date.
“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 (sic) 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.“
It remains to be seen how the boards can work out a week for the match, though one could possibly be arranged when India return to England next year for a scheduled limited-overs series.
This development seems to have ended the possibility of India having to forfeit the Test match, though further developments are awaited.
News that the match wouldn’t begin as originally planned came in hours before the scheduled toss. “Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team,” the ECB said in a statement. “We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many.”
It is understood that the players and both boards were worried about another case emerging due to the match, and hence the BCCI told the ECB that India would struggle to put out a playing XI for the fifth Test, which was to be played at Old Trafford from September 10 to 14.
There was confusion among the Indian camp in the last two days even as the BCCI was in discussions with ECB over whether to carry on with the series or cancel the final Test. The discussion continued through the middle of Thursday night, however, the Indian team remained unaware of what decision the BCCI was going to take.
However, it is understood the BCCI did ask the players to keep their luggage ready to fly out to the UAE for the IPL well ahead of the scheduled departure date of September 15, when the bulk of the India and England players were to board charter flights to join their IPL teams.