It is indeed sad that the enthralling Test series between India and England had to end in rather anti- climatic way. The fifth Test at Old Trafford at Manchester was called off after covid hit the Indian team support staff. With India leading the series 2-1 and the momentum with them them , India fans were hoping for a 3-1 scoreline but unfortunately it was not to be.
The sudden move by BCCI as sated by ECB that India was unable to field a team for Fifth Test has taken all by surprise. The British media too had valid points. It alleged that Indian team was too keen to fly out safe of the IPL starting from September 19 in Dubai.
Daily Mail in its report stated, “Why have India refused to play if not a single player has tested positive? India’s players are desperate not to miss the resumption of the lucrative Indian Premier League in the UAE from September 19. It seems they took the precaution of cancelling their pre-match training session and isolating in their hotel rooms to this end.
“Indian head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive after attending a busy book launch in a London hotel, along with the entire Indian squad. The ECB were already fuming about a decision which, they believed, jeopardised the Manchester Test, and this morning there were suggestions that members of the touring party were seen out and about in Manchester yesterday – despite promises from the BCCI after the book-launch controversy that they would tighten their protocols ahead of the fifth Test,” it added.
Meanwhile, BBC also believed that IPL might have a lot to do with this call-off. “This is quite bizarre because last night the players all passed their PCR tests. We went to bed thinking the match would go ahead.”
“I suspect the IPL would have a lot to do with this. It starts in 10 days’ time. The players are on huge contacts. The IPL is worth £300m to the BCCI. They are desperate to protect their product and the players protect their contracts. This stands to cost the ECB £20m, one assumes there would be some negotiations about that with the BCCI. It is a shame Covid has interfered with a brilliant series,’ BBC correspondent wrote.
These are serious accusations and the bouncer BCCI will find hard to duck . Former England skipper Kevin Pietersen however tweeted in a different tone , England need not point fingers at India over Covid scare pull out from the Old Trafford Test as he wrote, England left the tour of SA for Covid scares & cost CSA plenty, so don’t go pointing fingers!
Lastly , with media reports stating the eagerness of the Indian team players to join the IPL bubble in Dubai at the earliest has once again put the spotlight on the cash rich league . Former England skipper Mike Atherton too believed IPL was the reason for India’s pull- out . Atherton reportedly told Sky Sports : The real issue in the room is the IPL . “The players are concerned about their involvement in that and the BCCI is no doubt concerned about that tournament”.