BCCI cites player refusal, not IPL for fifth test cancellation vs. England

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sourav Ganguly revealed that their players “refused to play” the fifth and final Test against England due to COVID-19 concerns and denied that the Indian Premier League (IPL) restart has something to do with the cancellation. Earlier, the Old Trafford Test was cancelled two hours before its scheduled start as the traveling team failed to field a squad.

“The players refused to play but you can’t blame them,” Ganguly told Indian newspaper. “Physio Yogesh Parmar was such a close contact of the players … he mixed freely with the players and even performed their COVID-19 tests.” Ganguly added that Parmar “was part of their everyday lives” that his positive test brought fears to the team and they were “dead scared.”

India were 2-1 up in the series heading into the final test. The ECB initially said in the statement that India had forfeited the match but later retracted that. The Indian board said the well-being of the players was of “paramount importance” and that the match would be rescheduled at a later date without elaborating when that could be.

“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 said. The only possible window for such an arrangement seems to be July next year when the India team visits England for a six-match white-ball series.

ECB CEO Tom Harrison echoed Ganguly’s comments and said the cancellation had nothing to do with the IPL. “The BCCI will never be an irresponsible board. We value other boards too,” he said, adding that the match is likely to be held as a one-off match next year. India’s players are now set to feature in the rescheduled IPL, which resumes in the United Arab Emirates this weekend.

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