The fifth test between England and India at Old Trafford was cancelled on the morning of the match before its scheduled start on Friday after the tourists failed to field a side following a COVID-19 case in their camp.
The fifth LV= Insurance Test was due to get underway in Manchester at 11 am but little more than two hours before the scheduled start a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed the game would not be taking place.
The ECB initially said that India will “forfeit the match”, although that wording was removed in an updated version, suggesting negotiations between the respective boards remain ongoing. The BCCI later said the decision was a joint one and that it was open to rescheduling.
Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test at Emirates Old Trafford, due to start today, will be cancelled.
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 10, 2021
Concerns over the viability of the fixture first appeared on the eve of the match, when India cancelled their final training session and failed to complete their mandatory press conference.
It later emerged that the squad was confined to its hotel after a new positive case was returned by one of their backroom team.
Head coach Ravi Shastri had previously tested positive for the virus during the fourth Test at the Oval, where he remains in quarantine with bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar.
The threat appeared to recede when a fresh round of PCR testing among the remaining members of the travelling party came back negative, but after intense negotiations between the ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India the game was cancelled.
It is understood that a number of Indian players harboured concerns over the spread of the virus and were unwilling to take the field, meaning the tourists could not put up an XI.
The revised ECB statement read: “Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled.
“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.
In a separate statement, the Indian board “offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled Test match”.
“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,” the Indian board said.
Update: The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the match, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test.
— BCCI (@BCCI) September 10, 2021
“In lieu 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.”
India was leading the five-match series 2-1 after a thumping victory at The Oval