Fact Check: Will India Be Declared Series Winners After Final Test Cancellation?
Manchester: The English and Indian cricket boards agreed to cancel the fifth Test a little over 2 hours before the scheduled start of the match at Old Trafford here on Friday.
With the visitors having led the hard-fought series 2-1 till the point of cancellation of the final match, will India be declared 2-1 winners?
Well, it’s not so straightforward.
The two cricket Boards will try and identify a window when this match can be rescheduled, though it’s easier said than done given the hectic round-the-year schedules of all top teams.
Even though it was a “joint” decision by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to cancel the Manchester Test, keeping in mind the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Indian team contingent, the ECB was not too convinced.
In fact, ECB initially suggested that India had “forfeited” the match, in which case the home team could have been declared winners and the series deemed to have ended 2-2. However, the ECB had to rephrase its statement on insistence of the BCCI.
The fact that this series was the first of the 2021-2023 World Test Championship cycle adds an added dimension because England have lost the chance to push for a win and earn points.
The BCCI, realizing ECB’s sentiment, tried to impress on its counterparts that a way can be found to reschedule the Manchester Test.
“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,” BCCI secretary Jay Shah stated.
“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,” added Shah.
Following the visitors’ second physio Yogesh Parmar testing COVID positive a day before the match, the Indian team was in a quandary as main physio Nitin Patel was already in isolation, along with bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar, as head coach Ravi Shastri had contracted the virus last week.
The tests for all Indian players came negative on Thursday, but there was a suspicion that one or more of them could test positive in the next couple of days as they had come in contact with Parmar.
The other important factor, though not mentioned officially, was the IPL which is due to resume in the UAE from September 19. Losing some key Indian players to COVID could have robbed the T20 league of star value.