Hours after it was reported that the 5th Test Match between India and England would be played as per schedule at Old Trafford ground in Manchester on Friday (September 10), the England Cricket Board (ECB) informed that the match has been called off.
In a statement, the ECB stated, “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 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.” It further added, “We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many. Further information will be shared in due course.”
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
English cricket fans lash out at BCCI, level allegations against Indian players
Soon after, English fans began blaming the BCCI for prioritising the Indian Premier League (IPL) over Test cricket. They also accused the Indian team of ‘unprofessionalism’ and breaching the bio-secure bubble by attending a book launch event. “I very much enjoyed the series drawn 2-2 thanks to India forfeiting this test through being unable to field a team for fear of wrecking their IPL contracts,” claimed one Ryan Tring.
Another England cricket fan alleged, “Absolute joke. BCCI and IPL rule Cricket now, Indians wouldn’t be quick to run home if they were 2-1 down.”
Another English cricket fan squarely blamed the Indian cricket coach Ravi Shashtri of ‘breaking’ the bio-security bubble. “India must forfeit the match, book signing event by the Indian coach was absolutely unnecessary, no problem playing Day 5 at Oval but now they can’t step on field. Scaredy cats,” he alleged.
Netizens slam English cricket fans for hypocrisy
Former English cricketer Kevin Pietersen pointed out the doublespeak of English cricket fans and reminded them how the ECB cancelled their tour of South Africa over Coronavirus outbreak. “England left the tour of SA for Covid scares & cost CSA plenty, so don’t go pointing fingers!” Pietersen tweeted.
Another Twitter user commented, “It’s fine, they’re in their right to leave. We left when we had concerns in SA. Move on.”
A fan page of Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli pointed out none had any problem with security breaches by jarvo69, and players flouting mandatory quarantine period. “People had no problem of jarvo entering 3 times people had no problem of their players playing 100 and comming back to test cricket…Oh yeah IPL let’s target that and blame it …. imagine if a player played 1 IPL match between tests and came back or an indian breaking (into the) field,” the Twitter user added.
BCCI issues clarification on the matter
While speaking to ANI, BCCI Vice-President Rajiv Shukla clarified that the decision to call off the final Test match was taken following consultations with ECB Chairman, CEO, BCCI President, Secretary, Treasurer, Joint Secretary, captains and senior players. “…Other negotiations with ECB will continue in order to resolve the whole issue amicably. There is no question of forfeiting the match, it has been only called off,” he emphasised. Shukla did not rule out the possibility of conducting the matches on a later date and said that negotiations were underway between the two cricket Boards.
In a statement, the BBCI clarified, “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. 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.The BCCI has always maintained that the safety and well-being of the players is of paramount importance and there will be no comprise on that aspect.””