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Fifth England vs India Test cancelled after COVID-19 case


Fifth England vs India Test cancelled after COVID-19 case
A message is seen displayed on a video screen at Old Trafford after the match was cancelled - (Reuters)

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MANCHESTER – The fifth Test between England and India was cancelled barely two hours before its scheduled start on Friday at Old Trafford, after the visitors failed to field a side following a COVID-19 case in their camp.

India led the series 2-1 heading into the final Test, but the match was thrown into doubt on Thursday after their assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“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 England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said in a statement.

The ECB initially said in the statement India had forfeited the match, but later retracted that.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) said the well-being of the players was of “paramount importance” and the match would be rescheduled later without elaborating when that could be.

“Both the Boards will work towards finding a window to reschedule this Test,” the BCCI said in a statement.

“The BCCI would like to thank the ECB for their co-operation and understanding in these trying times.

“We would like to apologise to the fans for not being able to complete an enthralling series.”

With the Indian Premier League (IPL) beginning on September 19 in Dubai, there was no real prospect of the Test being pushed back on this Tour.

India will return to England next July to play three Twenty20 matches and an equal number of One-day Internationals.

It was a tame end to a thrilling series lit up by the sublime batting of England captain Joe Root, who smashed three hundreds in the opening three matches, and India’s excellent seam bowling, spearheaded by Jasprit Bumrah.

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive during the fourth Test at The Oval and he has since been isolating with bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and head physio Nitin Patel.