With the dust settling on the storm that led to the fifth Test between India and England being called off, it is now clear that the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have decided to reschedule the match next year.
However, the ECB has taken the call that the match will be replayed as a ‘standalone’ Test and have no bearing on the present series that stands cancelled after the Oval game, with India leading 2-1.Should the ECB not make an official announcement to award the series to India, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will get involved. The Indian board and players have reiterated multiple times that the match will not be ‘forfeited’. In case of a forfeit, series honours would have been shared.
The ICC will, in all likelihood, also have to intervene and figure out – through their cricket committee, led by former India captain Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid as members – how to work out the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle because of this cancelled Test.
The truncated England-India series kicked off the second cycle of the WTC that will culminate in 2023.
India had moved to the top spot of the WTC table, displacing Pakistan after the win at the Oval. However, with the fifth Test getting cancelled and the series result in limbo, the ICC will have to communicate with BCCI and ECB to bring the deadlock to a logical end.
The series of events that led to the cancellation of the Manchester Test began with assistant physio of the Indian team, Yogesh Parmar, testing positive for a lateral flow test on Wednesday evening. The next morning, the India players cancelled their prematch training and went into a self-imposed quarantine when Parmar’s RT-PCR report too came positive.
IPL players start arriving in the UAE
From Saturday morning, aided by their respective franchises, Team India cricketers began leaving England to
head to the UAE for phase-2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Phase-2 begins on September 19 with the marquee clash between Chennai Super Kings and Mumbai Indians in Dubai. Mumbai Indians cricketers Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah and Suryakumar Yadav arrived in Abu Dhabi, where the team is based, on Saturday morning while Chennai Super Kings’ UK imports Moeen Ali and Sam Curran were on their way to joining their franchise in Dubai.
As for the Indian players, CSK is flying in allrounders Ravindra Jadeja and Shardul Thakur from England. Other franchises are doing the same with their respective cricketers.
RCB captain Virat Kohli and pacer Mohammed Siraj also took a chartered flight from Manchester.
All Indian players have returned negative RT-PCR tests for the second time in two days and will undergo a 6-day quarantine in the UAE.
Bairstow, Woakes, Malan pull out
England players Chris Woakes and Dawid Malan have pulled out of the IPL. Jonny Bairstow has also pulled out and they have “specific” reasons, according to sources.
Either their team is no longer in contention for the knockouts or they don’t see themselves in the playing XI, so no point travelling.
“Take Bairstow for instance. With Holder, Williamson, Warner, Rashid and Nabi in the Sunrisers Hyderabad team, he won’t find a spot and therefore he’s opting out. That’s logical,” said sources.
The teams that remain in contention for the knockouts will mostly have their important players turning up for the phase-2 of the IPL, apart from those like Pat Cummins and Ben Stokes who have already ruled themselves out.
“Eoin Morgan, for instance, is joining the Knight Riders. The players from the Caribbean are arriving, the Australians and the New Zealanders too. It’ll be a full-house as much as possible barring a few unavoidable pullouts,” say those tracking developments.