The cancelled fifth Test between India and England men’s cricket teams has been rescheduled, to be held from July 1 next year at Edgbaston, the England and Wales Cricket Board said on Friday.
The match, which was due to take place last month at Old Trafford in Manchester, was called off due to fears of a further increase in the number of Covid-19 cases inside the visiting Indian camp.
With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board and the Board of Control for Cricket in India.
“We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far,” Tom Harrison, ECB Chief Executive Officer, said.
“I’m very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they’ve shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I’d also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible.
“We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance.
“We recognise that accommodating this extra match means a tighter schedule for the white ball series. We will continue to manage our players’ welfare and workloads through next year while we also continue to seek the optimum schedule for fans, players and our partners across the game.’’
BCCI secretary Jay Shah also said the finale to the series will be fitting.
“I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale,” Shah was quoted as saying.
“The BCCI recognizes and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow Board Members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window. I thank the ECB for their understanding and patience in finding an amicable solution.”
Last month, BCCI President Sourav Ganguly, in an interview to PTI, had made it clear that the rescheduled match would be an extension of the series and not a standalone game.
“We want the series to be completed as this will be our first series win (in England) since 2007,” Ganguly had said.
There was confusion regarding the official status of the match after a late cancellation. The first statement from ECB had stated that the Indian team were “unable to field a team and will instead forfeit the match”. But soon after the website statement was updated to: “Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.” The mention of forfeiture was removed.
The Test will now be part of the scheduled white-ball tour that India were to embark on next year. The start of the that leg has been pushed back, the ECB confirmed. The board also said that the rescheduling did not allow for the match to take place in Manchester.
“Ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day,” the ECB statement added.
Ahead of a highly-anticipated series decider, India had cancelled their final training session and mandatory pre-match press conference after reports that a physiotherapist who had been in close contact with the players had tested positive for Covid.
India were already without head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar, who had all previously tested positive, with senior physiotherapist Nitin Patel having to self-isolate.
On the penultimate evening it had appeared the match was going ahead when a fresh round of tests within the India camp produced a set of negative results.
But following talks between the ECB and BCCI the fixture was called off – the first home men’s international to have been cancelled in England since the start of the pandemic.Revised Dates and venues
(With AFP inputs)
Revised dates and venues:
Rescheduled 5th Test v India: Edgbaston - 1 - 5 July
T20 Series v India
1st T20: Ageas Bowl - 7 July
2nd T20: Edgbaston - 9 July
3rd T20: Trent Bridge - 10 July
ODI Series v India
1st ODI: Kia Oval - 12 July
2nd ODI: Lord’s - 14 July
3rd ODI: Emirates Old Trafford - 17 July