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India-England fifth and final Test cancelled: ECB

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 The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced that the fifth and final Test between India and England at Manchester which was scheduled to start today has been cancelled. The ECB in a statement said, “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.”

“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,” the ECB statement provides.

Notably, former India captain and the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Sourav Ganguly had on Thursday raised doubts on the future of the fifth and final Test against England after a member of Team India’s support staff tested positive for COVID-19.

India had to cancel its final training session on the eve of the series finale after the positive test report came in. Team India’s physio Yogesh Parmar has tested positive for COVID-19 in tests conducted on Wednesday. All the Indian players returned negative reports in the first test but have undergone another round of mandatory tests for the virus.

Earlier, head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive for COVID-19 and had to go into isolation along with fellow members of the support staff—Bharat Arun, R Sridhar and Nitin Patel.

India’s training session cancelled

India arrived in Manchester on Monday and trained on Tuesday and Wednesday but their final training session has been cancelled.

The five Test series in England has not played in bio-bubble environments, unlike the previous cricket series and tournaments in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. With England easing Covid-19 restrictions, players and the support staff were allowed to travel to designated locations for food and other activities.

India leads Test series

India currently leads the five-match Test series 2-1 and need only a draw in Manchester to secure victory in the series, if the match does go ahead. The visitors had started off by drawing the opening Test at Trent Bridge in a match affected by rain.

In the second Test at Lord’s, India won by 151 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the series but England came back strongly in the third Test at Headingley as India suffered a humiliating defeat by an innings and 76 runs. The visitors won the fourth Test at the Oval driven by impressive performances from Rohit Sharma and Shardul Thakur and secured an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the series.

 

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