The five-match Test series between India and England came to a disappointing and underwhelming end when the final Test got called off between the two sides. Ahead of the Test, several non-playing staff of the Indian Team including head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive for COVID-19. As a precautionary measure, the players decided against competing and following lengthy negotiations between the BCCI and ECB, the match was called off.
BCCI President Sourav Ganguly recently confirmed that the fifth Test of the series was cancelled purely because of fears of COVID-19 in the Indian camp. He also went on to add that the IPL 2021 which is set to resume from September 19 after being suspended following COVID breakout earlier this year had no influence over the decision. Ganguly made it clear that the fifth Test will be played as the final match of the series instead of a one-off Test with India leading the series 2-1.
“We want the series to be completed as this will be our first series win (in England) since 2007,” Ganguly was quoted as saying MyKhel.com.
“The BCCI maintains that Test cricket is the ultimate format and we won’t compromise it for anything.”
After winning the Tests at Lord’s and The Oval, India were 2-1 up in the series. However, the cancelled Test match was especially disappointing for Lancashire Cricket Club and ECB who had to suffer financial losses. The ECB will only be able to invoke insurance claims if the ICC rules the test as ‘forfeited’ but cricket’s highest governing body is yet to comment on the matter. ICC ruling the Test being ‘abandoned’ would increase ECB’s burdens as it not only means that they won’t be able to get insurance claims but also that India would be declared the winners of the series.
Sourav Ganguly, however, promises to help out the ECB by offering additional matches during India’s 2022 Tour of England. “We are ready to play extra ODI and T20Is and that’s not an issue.
“Just that the Test match that will be played later will be the fifth match of the series.”
“There is a precedent of series being cancelled because of COVID-19 in the past 18 months. The BCCI cancelled its home series against South Africa last year which cost us around 40 to 50 million pounds,” the former captain said.
“We understand how detrimental it is to the game in terms of spectators and viewers’ interest (TV and OTT) especially when the series has been of such high quality. Test cricket is BCCI’s foremost priority,” he concluded.