England vs India: Manchester Test canceled over COVID-19 concerns
In a major development, the final Test between India and England has been canceled. Notably, Indian players had expressed health concerns after assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar tested COVID-19 positive on Thursday. "Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID-19 cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team," read the official statement by ECB.
Here is the official statement by ECB
"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 canceled. We send our sincere apologies to fans," said ECB.
Team India players had expressed concern
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, it was stated that more than one Team India player had expressed concern about taking the field. They have even written a letter to BCCI discussing the health issues due to a recent COVID-19 case in the Indian camp. Further, results of the second round of testing performed on Thursday were expected on Friday morning.
The Test match was supposed to go ahead as planned
On Thursday, there were doubts regarding the Test match after Parmar's positive test. However, it was later reported that the match will go ahead as planned after the ECB stated that all the Indian players' PCR COVID-19 Tests had come back negative.
India's training session on eve of Manchester Test was canceled
The Indian team's training session on the eve of the fifth Test in Manchester had to be canceled after Parmar tested positive. According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, it was stated that the Indian squad members were asked to stay back in their hotel rooms till further notice. Meanwhile, Sourav Ganguly told PTI that he was unsure whether the match will happen or not.
Parmar had experienced COVID-19 symptoms
Meanwhile, Parmar's positive result came after a fresh round of testing on Wednesday evening. Team India had trained as scheduled in the morning and Parmar experienced coronavirus symptoms on the same day after returning from training. Since he was in close contact with several players, everyone had to undergo mandatory tests. Earlier, Parmar had to take charge midway through the fourth Test at Edgbaston.
Ravi Shastri had tested positive during the fourth test
On September 6, while England and India were engaged in the fourth Test, head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive for COVID-19. Along with him, three members of the support staff, Bharat Arun, R Sridhar, and Nitin Patel, were placed under quarantine. Shastri missed the fourth Test as India defeated England at The Oval.
India have dealt with COVID-19-related issues recently
The Indian contingent has been involved in COVID-19-related issues in past as well. Ahead of the Test series, Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant had contracted the virus. Even in the Sri Lanka white-ball series, Krunal Pandya, who was with the second-string Team India, had tested positive between the first and second T20Is. Two more players, Yuzvendra Chahal and K Gowtham, had tested positive thereafter.
India led the five-match Test series by a 2-1 margin
Team India led the five-match Test series by a 2-1 margin. After a draw in the rain-hit first Test, India won the second match by 151 runs. England bounced back in the third Test, winning the same by an innings and 76 runs. The visitors scripted a famous 157-run win at The Oval next to take a decisive lead.