5th Test: An edited press release, ‘players at end of tether’ and the IPL cloud

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It should have been day one of the 5th Test at Old Trafford between India and England on Friday, but it looks like the real battle took place behind the scenes, between the two countries’ cricket boards, hours before the expected start of the game.

There was little evidence of this battle between the BCCI and the ECB, except for a minor – but crucial – change made in the ECB’s press release canceling the match shortly after 1 p.m. (IST).

“Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India is unable to field a team and will unfortunately abandon the match”, reads the first version of the ECB press release.

Within fifteen minutes, however, a new press release was issued which omitted the clause that India had forfeited.

The difference that the phrase “forfeit” made was, of course, in the result of the 5-game test series, which currently stands 2-1 in favor of India. If India had withdrawn, the series would have been drawn, and England would have obtained 12 points in the World Test Championship, which would have placed them at the top of the table, alongside India.

However, as the BCCI press release made clear shortly after 3 p.m. (IST), the series score remains at 2-1, and the Indian board “has proposed to the ECB a rescheduling of the test match canceled “.

READ | Indian team do not want to play fifth test after support staff test positive

The Indian players had a meeting on Thursday, where the majority of the squad expressed reluctance to play the fifth test. According to sources, with the resumption of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE from September 19, players were wary of risk factors.

“It’s very similar to what happened in South Africa last year. The English players were very reluctant to play, the administrators wanted the game to continue, they were trying to negotiate, but the players were reluctant. The IPL has always been the cloud that hangs over this test match, ”Michael Atherton told Sky Sports on Friday.

“The IPL has always been the big financial problem weighing on the back of this test match. But it’s also about the players out of breath, thinking and if they catch Covid at the end of this tour, thinking I can do another 10 days. It’s not tenable to go from bubble to bubble, look what happened to Ben Stokes, ”said Nasser Hussain.

READ | “It’s a joint decision with the ECB to cancel the 5th test”: Jay Shah

India’s reluctance to play came after the team’s assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar tested Covid positive ahead of the game. Parmar had monitored several players including Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma – players with various issues – during and after the 4th test.

According to reports, the Indian board has been told they should give England a foothold in case they want the hosts to agree to their request to cancel the last test match, but the players were reluctant to do so.

According to unconfirmed reports, the 5th test may take place when India travels to England for a series of white balloons in July 2022. For now, the status of the 5th test remains “both councils will work to find a window to reschedule this test match. . “And not lost.



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