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England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB)

England's Stuart Broad holds the ball to celebrate taking 500 wickets Martin Rickett/Pool via AP
England's Stuart Broad holds the ball to celebrate taking 500 wickets Martin Rickett/Pool via AP
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Stuart Broad Confirms He Will Be A Part Of The Ashes 2021/22 Tour If Fitness Permits Him

Stuart Broad confirmed that he will be part of the Ashes 2021/22 tour if his fitness permits him to play but added that England’s players still need more details about the Covid-19 restrictions they will undergo in Australia.

It is expected that some multi-format players will withdraw from the trip regardless of the final protocols that are put in place but Stuart Broad, who is a single-format player and could even have an outside chance of captaining the side if Joe Root isn’t available, has committed to being there. The pacer was ruled out of the recently concluded India Test series after playing the first Test when he suffered a calf injury.

Joe Root
Joe Root Photograph: Sri Lanka Cricket

Stuart Broad Would Be Happy To Get On A Plane To Australia In November

England players have expressed serious concerns about the quarantine and bio-bubble protocols being put in place for the team when they tour Australia for the gruelling Ashes series, and there are speculations that some key players might pull out of the tour. Stuart Broad – a veteran of 149 Tests and who has taken a whopping 524 wickets opened up on the matter.

“If you ask me if I would be happy to get on a plane to Australia in November, I would say yes,” Stuart Broad said in his Mail on Sunday column. “I am working tirelessly to get there. I don’t feel there will be a postponement. In my mind, it is 100 percent clear that an England team of some description will embark on the tour.”

“It is now just a couple of weeks away from a squad being selected but players can’t sign up to something unless they know what they are signing up for,” Stuart Broad said

England's Stuart Broad. (Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)
England’s Stuart Broad(Photo by Jon Super / POOL / AFP)

Extensive negotiations are continuing between the two boards- ECB and CA to try and find compromises to maintain quarantine norms and living arrangements during the two-month trip with Australia continuing to battle significant Covid-19 outbreaks in Victoria and New South Wales, although there remains hope that restrictions will be eased by November end.

England’s multi-format players, such as Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Mark Wood, Sam Curran, and Chris Woakes wouldn’t be willing to spend up about four months away from their families as they will fly to Australia straight from the UAE, where the T20 World Cup will be held. Some of the players will also participate in the second half of the IPL 2021. There is also a prospect of a postponed Ashes tour. Australia is the defending holders of the Ashes going into the series, having won in 2017–18 with the 2019 Ashes series ending in a draw.

Stuart Broad: ECB Informed Cricketers With Available Minimal Details Of Australia’s Plans For Ashes 2021/22

However, the final conditions of the tour largely rest with what Cricket Australia is able to negotiate with the federal and state governments in Australia. The biggest challenge is finding biosecure plans that allow the tour to move around the country.

“The ECB have tried to keep us as informed as possible with the information that they are getting from Cricket Australia,” Stuart Broad said. “It’s just that minimal detail has been available. I don’t think anyone can say hand on heart that we won’t be living in a bubble out there and that will be extremely challenging.”

The conditions of the initial 14-day quarantine period have been one of the key areas of discussion between the two boards. The England squad may be housed in a resort on the Gold Coast with a greater degree of freedom, although it may be limited to a period of training each day. India was permitted the same last season.

Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au

Recently the India Women’s squad, and the majority of the women Australia players, had to undergo two weeks hard quarantine in Brisbane ahead of their multi-format series.

“With the situation, Australia is in — with their own citizens struggling to get into the country — I am not thinking we will just be able to fly in with no quarantining, as if we are living a normal life, because the world is not a normal place at the moment,” Stuart Broad said.

“We need to be in a situation where we are allowed to train for between two and three hours a day. An international bowler rarely goes two weeks in a year without bowling,” Stuart Broad said.
While doubts about whether families will be able to travel have receded, there remain concerns about the conditions of their length of the quarantine period. The possibility of reducing the quarantine period for the squad, which will be entirely double vaccinated, had been raised. 14 days quarantine period is the federal government policy norm throughout the pandemic, so it would appear an unlikely concession.

Late last week a glimmer of a solution had emerged when the New South Wales government, who last season helped rescue the India Test tour by providing the necessary quarantine and training facilities, announced a trial program for a reduced seven-day home quarantine program that would begin in late September as part of the plan to open up international borders. However, progress would have to move quickly for it to be an option for the Ashes.

The Ashes between England and Australia is set to commence on December 8 in Brisbane.

Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
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Manchester Test Cancellation Leads To Ashes 2021-22 Uncertainty

Manchester Test – the fifth and final Test in the ongoing series has been postponed indefinitely in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak within the India contingent. BCCI said it was in talks with the ECB over conducting the Manchester Test at a later date.

The dramatic last-minute cancellation of the deciding fifth Manchester Test at Old Trafford between India and England has heightened the tension already surrounding the upcoming Ashes series, although English cricket’s top administrator still believes postponement is “probably not where we are going to end up”.

But with India having abandoned the fifth Manchester Test against England before a ball was bowled because of COVID-19 fears arising in a more relaxed ‘managed’ environment after officials deemed last year’s strict biosecure bubbles to be an unsustainable imposition on players in the long term, the upcoming Ashes could yet be played under tighter restrictions.

Manchester Test: The message on the scoreboard after the fifth Test was called off PA Photos/Getty Images
Manchester Test: The message on the scoreboard after the fifth Test was called off PA Photos/Getty Images

Manchester Test Cancellation Increased Tension For Ashes Which Would Be Played Under Tighter Restrictions

Several England cricketers have already expressed worries about the current situation in Australia, where arrivals are subject to lengthy quarantine, amid fears that their wives, girlfriends, and families may not be allowed to join them, as would normally be the case, at some stage during the five-match Ashes series.

It was not until just over two hours before Friday’s scheduled to start that the fifth Manchester Test was called off due to Covid-19 concerns within the India camp — a move that left English cricket facing a financial ‘black hole’ estimated at 40 million pounds ($55 million).

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Reports that Yogesh Parmar, a physiotherapist in close contact with the players had tested positive for Covid appeared to be the final straw in persuading an India side already missing head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar due to positive Covid tests, with senior physiotherapist Nitin Patel self-isolating, not to take the field in the Manchester Test in a series they led 2-1.

Meanwhile, suggestions India had been too lax in their approach to the new environment, be it Ravi Shastri’s presence at a London launch of his new book featuring some 150 guests, or reports that several of the tourists’ players were out in Manchester on Thursday night are unlikely to have gone unnoticed by Australian officials.

It remains to be seen how the boards can work out a window for the Manchester Test, though one could possibly be carved out when India returns to England next year for a scheduled limited-overs series.

Tom Harrison: Ashes Series Is A Massive Deal For World Cricket

The England and Wales Cricket Board are currently in the process of trying to agree on a set of protocols with their counterparts at Cricket Australia, as well as the Australian government, under which the Ashes can operate. A complicating factor, however, is the ability of individual Australian states to impose their own unilateral lockdowns at a moment’s notice.

“An Ashes series is a massive deal for world cricket,” ECB chief executive Tom Harrison told The Times.

“I think (postponement) is probably not where we are going to end up. All the England players want to be part of it. I totally understand the players’ perspective on families being present and the conditions under which families are present. It’s a conversation we’re having with Cricket Australia and the Australian government.”

The latest edition of Test cricket’s oldest series is set to begin in Brisbane on December 8 before moving to Adelaide ahead of the traditional Boxing Day Test in Melbourne and further matches in Sydney and Perth.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. (Credits: Twitter)
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. (Credits: Twitter)

While Brisbane, Adelaide, and Perth are largely virus-free and fans are allowed into venues, Sydney and Melbourne are both in lockdown battling outbreaks of the Delta variant with case numbers and deaths rising. Tom Harrison insisted the ECB were simply trying to get answers to questions being asked by England players and had no intention of making excessive demands.

“No one is being unreasonable,” he said. “We just need to get clarity as soon as possible.”

England does not yet know if star all-rounder Ben Stokes, currently taking a break from all cricket to prioritize his mental health, will be available.

Tom Harrison, however, said: “No player has said no (to the tour). We’re speaking to players a lot about this…There’s nothing more important than the health and well-being of our players.”

Ben Stokes, who announced an indefinite break from cricket due to mental health issues ahead of the England and India Test series, is highly doubtful to attend Ashes 2021. Ben Stokes is also not part of the upcoming IPL 2021 UAE leg and wasn’t included in England’s ICC T20 World Cup 2021 squad.

Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sourav Ganguly. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Sourav Ganguly To Meet With ECB Representatives, To Travel To The UK On September 22

Sourav Ganguly will meet with the ECB representatives and the broadcasters over the potential rescheduling of the cancelled 5th Manchester Test. The BCCI boss will travel to the UK on September 22.

Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly will travel to the United Kingdom on September 22 to meet with England cricket representatives to discuss the possible rescheduling of the Manchester Test, which was cancelled on Friday over Covid-19 scare in the Indian camp.

Sourav Ganguly- Twitter
Sourav Ganguly- Twitter

Sourav Ganguly To Meet With ECB Representatives

Sourav Ganguly will meet with ECB representatives and the official broadcasters to try and resolve the situation as both the parties are set to lose a huge amount of money due to the cancellation of the 5th and final Test of the series between England and India.

Hours ahead of the scheduled start of Day 1 of the 5th Test, the fixture was cancelled. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) stated that Indian players were unable to field a team amid the Covid-19 scare in the dressing room.

BCCI, ECB Logo
BCCI, ECB Logo

The BCCI, in a statement, said it will offer a rescheduling to the ECB and that the two boards will work towards finding a window for the Test match amid a busy cricket calendar.

“In lieu of the strong relationship between BCCI and ECB, the BCCI has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the canceled Test match. Both the Boards will work towards finding a window to reschedule this Test match,” the BCCI said.

India had to cancel their training session on Thursday after assistant physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for Covid-19. India players then were forced into isolation but all of them returned negative results in the first round of RT-PCR tests for Covid-19.
Sourav Ganguly was left impressed with the way India and England are battling in the ongoing 5-match Test series. Sourav Ganguly reckoned that both teams have displayed great skill on the field and there is no substitute for a well-fought series before the Covid-19 positive case resulted in the last Test being postponed. India was leading 2-1.

Senior Members Of Indian Team Were Apprehensive After Yogesh Parmar Tested Covid-19 Positive

Even as they were waiting for the results of the second round of tests, it is understood that the senior members of the team were apprehensive about possible infections within the incubation period as some of them were deemed as close contacts to Yogesh Parmar.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source: AP

Notably, Yogesh Parmar was the 4th member of the Indian support staff to test positive for Covid-19 in England. Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar were not part of the dressing room in the Oval Test after they tested positive for the virus ahead of the start of the 4th Test. India players took the field after two negative RT-PCR Tests in London last week.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. (Credits: Twitter)
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison. (Credits: Twitter)
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Tom Harrison Frustrated To See Manchester Test Being Cancelled Amid Covid Fears

Tom Harrison, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) CEO has said that it was frustrating to see the fifth Test between England and India being cancelled and the board tried its best to avoid this outcome.

The 5th and final Test match between India and England which was scheduled to begin on September 10 at Old Trafford, Manchester was cancelled after the Covid-19 fear across the Indian camp with staff testing positive. Notably, ahead of the 5th Test match junior physio Yogesh Parmer tested positive for Covid-19 in Manchester and many Indian players were in close contact with him.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison Getty Images
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison Getty Images

Tom Harrison Is Disappointed For The 5th Test’s Cancellation

Although later the reports of Indian players were found negative still there were a lot of risks involved after the Covid-19 outbreak in the camp. Meanwhile, previously Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar, were found positive for Covid-19 and they did not travel with the team to London for the 5th and final Test.

“A huge amount has happened over the last 24 hours, and from one cricket lover to another, I want to say how sorry I am for all the inconvenience caused by the cancellation of this Test match.

“We were all looking forward to what promised to be the culmination of this brilliant Test Series, and I’m so disappointed at not being able to get the match played,” said ECB chief Tom Harrison in an official statement.

Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)

“I have heard many stories today of people who planned for months or saved hard during this pandemic to have a special day out with friends and family. To not see that happen is hard to take. Today’s news will have been so frustrating, especially given the short notice. Please know that we worked through the night to find solutions and avoid this outcome,” Tom Harrison added.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has also offered to the England and Wales Cricket Board ( ECB ) for rescheduling the cancelled Test match.

Tom  Harrison: Refunds To Ticket Holders Will Be Issued Shortly And ECB Will Try To Reschedule The Test Next Year

ECB chief Tom Harrison was frustrated to see that fans were unable to witness the highly anticipated match between the top Test sides in the world. He also stated that they worked really hard to find a solution and avoid this outcome however they failed.

BCCI, ECB Logo
BCCI, ECB Logo

Further in his statement, Harrison said: “Refunds to ticket holders will be issued shortly, and although this will be no consolation to many, we will try to reschedule this long-awaited Emirates Old Trafford Test next summer. Thank you for all your support for England Cricket. It means a great deal to all of us.”

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled 5th Test match which was scheduled to be played at Manchester from Friday. The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test match, however, the outbreak of COVID-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the game.

Ahead of the fifth and final Test against England, physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for COVID-19 in Manchester. This had led to Team India’s training session for Thursday afternoon being cancelled.

India’s refusal to feature in the 5th and final Test against England at Manchester due to fears of Covid-19 has strained relationships between the two teams. While many in the English cricket fraternity are criticising Virat Kohli-led Indian management, some cricketers are reportedly even looking to pull out from the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

World Test Championship, India
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
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India Will Be Favourites Whenever The Postponed 5th Test Takes Place: Irfan Pathan

Irfan Pathan, former all-rounder said the Virat Kohli-led Indian side will be the ‘favourites’ to win the postponed fifth Test against England whenever it takes place in the future.

Irfan Pathan’s comments came after the final Test of the India-England series slated to begin in Manchester on Friday was postponed indefinitely two hours before toss due to Covid-19 scares in the Indian camp.

Irfan Pathan (R) and a young Virat Kohli in 2012. (Getty Images)
Irfan Pathan (R) and a young Virat Kohli in 2012. (Getty Images)

Irfan Pathan: India Showed Great Character And Fighting Spirit In England Tour And Will Be Favourites Whenever The Postponed 5th Test Will Take Place

Irfan Pathan said India, who is leading the series 2-1, should be proud of the way they performed in England.

“India showed great character & fighting spirit throughout the series. Giving it back to them with top level of skills was something to be proud of this team. I’m sure India will be the favourites whenever this ‘postponed’ match will be held,” Irfan Pathan tweeted.

Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Irfan Pathan. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The India cricket team toured England in August and September 2021 to play five Test matches. Prior to their matches against England, India played New Zealand in the 2021 ICC World Test Championship Final at the Rose Bowl in Southampton in June 2021. The Test series between India and England were the first matches of the 2021–2023 ICC World Test Championship.

The first Test of the series ended in a draw, after more than two days of play was lost across the duration of the match to rain. India won the second Test by 151 runs, in the final hour of the fifth day, to take a 1–0 lead in the series. England won the third Test by an innings and 76 runs before the lunch break on day four, levelling the series 1–1. India won the fourth Test by 157 runs, to lead the series 2–1 before the 5th Test was cancelled.

Jay Shah: Both BCCI And ECB Will Work In Tandem To Find A Window To Reschedule The 5th Test

BCCI secretary said Jay Shah said they will work with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to reschedule the Manchester Test.

“The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test Match, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test Match.

“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,” Shah said. 

Secretary BCCI, Jay Shah. Courtesy: Indiatimes
Secretary BCCI, Jay Shah. Courtesy: Indiatimes

ECB CEO Tom Harrison indicated that the rescheduled Test match may not be treated as the fifth Test and instead played as a one-off fixture between the two sides. If that does turn out to be true then the current series will be treated as a four-Test series and India will be declared the winners by virtue of their 2-1 lead.

“No, I think it’s a stand-alone situation. We have been offered a few other options, probably need to take a look (at those),” Harrison told ‘Sky Sports’ when asked whether it would be a stand-alone game or the series-decider.

India head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and senior physio Nitin Patel had all tested positive during the fourth Test in London and did not travel with the team in Manchester.

The Indian players had no problems in going ahead with the fifth Test until assistant physio Yogesh Parmar tested, who had been helping in the training of most of the Indian cricketers, tested positive on the eve of the Manchester Test.  The Indian players expressed their reservation in taking the field on Friday citing Covid-related concerns, which led to the postponement of the Test match.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison Getty Images
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison Getty Images
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ECB Chief Tom Harrison Says IPL Not To Be Blamed For Manchester Test Cancellation

Tom Harrison, ECB chairman declared that the fifth Test between England and India was not cancelled due to the rescheduled Indian Premier League 2021. The final Test, with India leading 2-1 following victory at the Oval last time out, was originally scheduled to begin on Friday morning at Old Trafford but positive Covid tests among members of India’s backroom team led to some uncertainty over its commencement.

India head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive during the fourth Test, which subsequently forced three other members of the country’s staff into isolation. Another support staff member tested positive on Thursday and doubt then lingered over whether the fifth Test would go ahead.

Tom Harrison insisted the IPL has nothing to do with the cancelled fifth Test
Tom Harrison insisted the IPL has nothing to do with the cancelled fifth Test ( Image: Getty Images)

Tom Harrison Denies Suggestions That The Situation Was Created By IPL 2021

However, it was confirmed later that evening that India’s players had returned negative tests, so the green light had been given for the Old Trafford fixture to get going. However, just two hours before play was meant to start on Friday – the fifth Test was dramatically called off.

The outbreak of the virus was deemed to be the reason for the cancelled Test, with ECB chief executive Tom Harrison vehemently denying suggestions it was due to the new start date of the Indian Premier League. The rescheduled IPL begins on September 19.

IPL Trophy
IPL Trophy. (Photo Source: IPL/BCCI)

“This is not a situation which has been created by the rescheduled IPL,” Harrison told BBC Sport. “I fundamentally do not believe that for a second.”

The IPL was postponed in May after a rise in Covid cases in India, and the league will continue in the United Arab Emirates. Speculation linking the cancelled Test with the rescheduled IPL comes after the Board for Control for Cricket in India made an informal request to the ECB in May asking to alter the series schedule to accommodate for the domestic league.

Michael Vaughan’s Claims Dismissed By Tom Harrison

And former England captain Michael Vaughan believes the decision to cancel the fifth Test is due to the money tied up in the IPL, with players worried about contracting the virus and being ruled out of matches. However, Tom Harrison dismissed the claims and insisted mental health was one of the factors considered before agreeing to cancel the Test.

“This Indian cricket team are as passionate about Test cricket as fans in our country are, and as our cricket team are as well,” Harrison added.

“India simply felt that they got to a point where they weren’t able to take to the field. That is understandable. As administrators, we need to be really clear that mental health has to be a priority for us when we’re thinking about the length of tours and the conditions under which people were expected to perform.”

Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)
Michael Vaughan (Image Credit: Twitter)

It remains to be seen how the series will be finalised, as India were leading 2-1 and they haven’t won a Test series on these shores since 2007. While he is confident the ECB made the correct decision, Tom Harrison admitted he was disappointed with the situation.

“There is a real disappointment because we wanted to have a crack at this Indian team,” the ECB chief added.

“Players put an awful lot of work into preparing themselves mentally and physically to be ready, and we were ready. It will take a little bit of from them to come back down from that emotional let-down.”

England will next face Pakistan at T20 level on October 13 while Indian cricketers will not have any international commitments before the T20I World Cup. News that the Manchester Test match wouldn’t begin as originally planned came in hours before the scheduled toss. The development came on the back of intense discussions between the BCCI and the ECB after India’s assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar returned a positive Covid-19 test.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Sunil Gavaskar Thinks Rescheduling The Cancelled 5th Test At Manchester Was A Correct Decision

Sunil Gavaskar has lauded the BCCI’s offer of rescheduling the cancelled Old Trafford Test, saying India should never forget England’s gesture of returning back to complete a tour, which was halted midway due to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

The Manchester Test at Old Trafford was cancelled at the last moment on Friday after India could not field a team due to a COVID-19 scare in their camp. The fifth Test between India and England was called off hours before its start on Friday after a COVID-19 outbreak in the visiting team’s camp which made the Indian players reluctant to play fearing a positive result might lead to 10-day isolation and scheduling nightmare of the Indian Premier League.

File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP
File image of former India captain Sunil Gavaskar | AFP

Sunil Gavaskar Thinks Rescheduling The Cancelled 5th Test At Manchester Was A Correct Decision Pointing Out To England Returning After Heading Home Due To Mumbai Terror Attack

Both the BCCI and England Cricket Board (ECB) officials later announced that the match will be rescheduled at a later date as a one-off game, but the decision is yet to be made official.

“Yes, I think that (rescheduling the cancelled Test) would be the correct thing to do. Look, we, in India, should never forget what the England team did in 2008 after the horrific attack, the 26/11. They came back,” Sunil Gavaskar said.

“They would have been perfectly entitled to say -‘we don’t feel safe. We are not coming back,’ ” Sunil Gavaskar said.

Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen. Image Credits: Twitter

The visiting England team was playing an ODI against India in Cuttack on November 26 when terrorists attacked Mumbai, leading to the cancellation of the last two ODIs of the seven-match series. England headed home immediately but later returned for the two-Test series which India won 1-0. Sunil Gavaskar said that the then skipper Kevin Pietersen was instrumental in England’s decision to return back for the Test matches.

“Never forget that Kevin Pietersen led the team, and he was the main man. If KP had said, no I don’t want to go, that would have been the end of the matter. It was because KP was willing to go and he convinced the others, the team came and we had that fantastic Test match in Chennai where India chased 380 to win on the last day,” the batting great said.

The 6th and 7th ODIs were cancelled without a ball bowled on November 29 and 2nd December 2008 after the terror attacks on 26th November. England then played 2 Tests at Chennai and Mohali after returning in December.

Sunil Gavaskar Termed BCCI’s Rescheduling Offer As Fantastic News

Sunil Gavaskar termed BCCI’s rescheduling offer as ‘fantastic news’ and said the cancelled Test can be held next year after the Indian Premier League.

“Don’t forget, the gesture of the ECB has to be remembered,” he said.

“It’s absolutely apt that the BCCI now says, right next year, we are still coming to England. I think there will be a little lean period. I think the IPL will finish in early June. So there is enough time for them to go a few days early, depending on whether we still have Covid and all the restrictions and maybe play a Test match before or after,” Gavaskar said.

BCCI, ECB Logo
BCCI, ECB Logo

“This is fantastic news coming that the BCCI will make up for it. This is exactly what the relations between boards should be.”

India’s refusal to feature in the 5th and final Test against England at Manchester due to fears of Covid-19 has strained relationships between the two teams. While many in the English cricket fraternity are criticising Virat Kohli-led Indian management, some cricketers are reportedly even looking to pull out from the UAE leg of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021.

News that the Manchester Test match wouldn’t begin as originally planned came in hours before the scheduled toss. The development came on the back of intense discussions between the BCCI and the ECB after India’s assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar returned a positive Covid-19 test on Wednesday.

BCCI (File Photo| PTI)
BCCI (File Photo| PTI)
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Manchester Test Postponed Indefinitely Amid Covid-19 Fear; BCCI, ECB Will Reschedule The Test Later

Manchester Test- the fifth and final Test in the ongoing series has been postponed indefinitely in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak within the India squad. In a statement released on Friday, the BCCI said it was in talks with the ECB over conducting the Manchester Test at a later date.
Soon after it emerged that the fifth Manchester Test between England and India at the Old Trafford was getting cancelled – which the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) first called forfeiture but soon changed it & the BCCI called postponement – the big talking point so far has been whether this series has ended up being 2-2 in favour of England and India or 2-1 in India’s favour, which was the result after the first four Tests.
Manchester Test: The message on the scoreboard after the fifth Test was called off PA Photos/Getty Images
Manchester Test: The message on the scoreboard after the fifth Test was called off PA Photos/Getty Images

Manchester Test To Be Rescheduled: BCCI And ECB Will Work Together

It remains to be seen how the boards can work out a window for the Manchester Test, though one could possibly be carved out when India returns to England next year for a scheduled limited-overs series.

This development seems to have ended the possibility of India having to forfeit the Manchester Test match, though further developments are awaited. News that the Manchester Test match wouldn’t begin as originally planned came in hours before the scheduled toss. The development came on the back of intense discussions between the BCCI and the ECB after India’s assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar returned a positive Covid-19 test on Wednesday.

“The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Manchester Test Match, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test Match. 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, ECB Logo
BCCI, ECB Logo
More than one India player had expressed concerns about taking the field in talks between the BCCI and the team management over the last two days. The entire India squad returned negative RT-PCR tests on Thursday, but results of the second round of testing performed on Thursday are still awaited.
It is understood that the players and both boards suspect another case emerging from this round of tests, and hence the BCCI told the ECB that India would struggle to put out a playing XI for the fifth Manchester Test, which was to be played at Old Trafford from September 10 to 14.
A sense of confusion had spread among the Indian camp in the last two days even as the BCCI was in discussions with ECB over whether to carry on with the series or cancel the final Test. While the discussion carried on through the middle of Thursday night, the Indian contingent remained unaware of what decision the BCCI was going to take.
However, it is understood the BCCI did ask the players to keep their bags ready to fly out to the UAE for the IPL well ahead of the scheduled departure date of September 15, when the bulk of the India and England players were to board charter flights to join their franchises.

Yogesh Parmer’s Close Contacts Couldn’t Be Identified As He Was Training A Wider Group Of Players

After the entire squad returned negative RT-PCR tests on Thursday, it is understood that during one of the meetings with the BCCI, several players grouped into one room for the virtual discussion. Yogesh Parmar had only taken charge midway into the fourth Test at the Oval after lead physio Nitin Patel went into isolation after being identified as a close contact of India head coach Ravi Shastri, who tested positive for Covid-19 on the third evening of the fourth Test at The Oval.
While three members of the contingent – Nitin Patel, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar – were identified as immediate contacts of Ravi Shastri, it was far more difficult to determine who the close contacts of Yogesh Parmar were, considering he was treating a wider group of players. These players have been mingling among the wider group, which has made identifying close contacts even more complicated.
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Ravi Shastri. (Photo Source: Twitter)
In their chats with the BCCI, the players were also concerned about the situation having an impact on their families. Most of the Indian players are travelling with their families. The key concern, though, for the BCCI was it did not want the UAE leg of the IPL 2021 to be impacted considering it is starting in nine days’ time.
With that in mind, the BCCI discussed cancelling the final Test, but the ECB is understood to have made it clear that it would interpret any refusal to play the Manchester Test as forfeiture. The BCCI was keen to avoid such a scenario, as not only would it see England square the series, but it could expose the BCCI to claims of lost revenue from broadcasters and the venue.
The World Test Championship competition terms state that a Covid-19 outbreak within a team is an acceptable reason for a Test to be abandoned – and not forfeited. With the WTC points system now calculated on the basis of the percentage of points contested, a four-Test series instead of five would not adversely impact a side’s points total.

“Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Manchester Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be canceled.  Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India is regrettably unable to field a team.”

Had the boards not agreed to the postponement, the series result could have gone into the hands of the ICC match referee Chris Broad based on whether the ECB accepted India’s fears of a larger outbreak in their camp as “acceptable non-compliance” as per the WTC regulations. Cancellation would have given India a 2-1 series victory, and a forfeiture led to a 2-2 draw. Currently, India has pocketed 26 WTC points from the series while England has 14 out of the available 48 points.
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
India cricket team. Photo: @BCCI
/

India Will Return To England Next Summer To Play 3 ODIs And 3 T20Is

India will return to England next summer to play six white-ball games, the ECB confirmed on Wednesday (September 8). While announcing the schedule for their 2022 home summer, the ECB also confirmed that they will be hosting New Zealand and South Africa too apart from India.

Even though England hosted New Zealand for a couple of Tests earlier this year (New Zealand won 1-0) in June before the World Test Championship final, they will host them again for three Tests this time to kickstart their summer. This series involving the hosts and the defending World Test champions will come under the 2021-23 World Test Championship cycle.

New Zealand's Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson celebrates with the trophy and teammates after winning the final of the ICC World Test Championship. Photograph: John Sibley/Reuters

India Will Return To England To Play 3 T20Is And 3 ODIs In July 2022

Following the conclusion of the three Tests, England will play 12 limited-overs games in the month of July. The T20I series against India kicks off on July 1 at Old Trafford in Manchester following which the teams move to Edgbaston and Southampton for the next two games. The T20I series will be followed by a three-match ODI series that concludes at Lord’s on July 14.

India will play three T20Is and as many ODIs next English summer.
India will play three T20Is and as many ODIs next English summer. © Getty

Joe Root’s Test side begins their series against New Zealand at Lord’s on June 2 before heading to Trent Bridge (June 10-14) and Headingley (June 23-27). A white-ball series against India follows in July, with three T20s taking place before three ODIs from July 1 to 14. England then welcomes South Africa for the biggest series of the summer, featuring three ODIs, three T20Is, and concluding with three Tests.

England Will Also Play New Zealand In 3 Tests Starting June And A Full Fledged All Format Against South Africa From July-August

England will then host South Africa for a full series from July 19 that will see the visitors play three ODIs, three T20Is, and three Tests. England’s home summer will conclude with the final Test against South Africa scheduled to begin on September 8 at The Oval. The Test series will carry more significance since the teams will be vying for vital WTC points. The ECB also confirmed that the T20 Blast Finals Day will be staged at Edgbaston on July 16.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison Getty Images
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison Getty Images

“It has been a scintillating summer of cricket and so good to see crowds backpacking out venues later this summer,” ECB Chief Executive Officer, Tom Harrison, said. “For next summer, I am pleased to be able to confirm three high-quality men’s international touring teams for 2022, starting with a three-Test LV= Insurance Series against World Test Champions New Zealand.”

Tom Harrison is the chief executive officer of the England and Wales Cricket Board. He confirmed the home schedule for the men’s team for 2022. Tom Harrison also confirmed that discussions are in progress regarding England Women’s home schedule as well as the 2022 domestic season.

“We also look forward to India returning for two white-ball series before we host South Africa for what promises to be hard-fought series across three formats”

Lord’s will host the first Test (17-21 August) against South Africa before the series moves to Edgbaston (August 25-29) and The Oval (September 8-12).

England’s 2022 home summer schedule

vs New Zealand

Match Date Venue
1st Test June 2-6 Lord’s, London
2nd Test June 10-14 Trent Bridge, Nottingham
3rd Test June 23-27 Headingley, Leeds

vs India

Match Date Venue
1st T20I July 1 Old Trafford, Manchester
2nd T20I July 3 Trent Bridge, Nottingham
3rd T20I July 6 Ageas Bowl, Southampton
1st ODI July 9 Edgbaston, Birmingham
2nd ODI July 12 The Oval, London
3rd ODI July 14 Lord’s, London

vs South Africa

Match Date Venue
1st ODI July 19 Riverside, Chester-le-Street
2nd ODI July 22 OldTrafford, Manchester
3rd ODI July 24 Headingley, Leeds
1st T20I July 27 Bristol
2nd T20I July 28 Sophia Gardens, Cardiff
3rd T20I July 31 Ageas Bowl, Southampton
1st Test August 17-21 Lord’s, London
2nd Test August 25-29 Edgbaston, Birmingham
3rd Test September 8-12 The Oval, London
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
Ashes Urn Photo: cricket.com.au
/

England Cricket Team Yet To Be Informed Of The Itinerary For The Ashes 2021/22 Tour

England cricket team is yet to be informed of the itinerary, travel plans, and accommodation for the Ashes tour. The Joe Root-led side is reportedly unhappy with the England Cricket Board (ECB) about being left in the dark regarding the proceedings.

The ECB is currently working with Cricket Australia to finalize the details of the tour slated to take place later this year. Skipper Joe Root and other senior players have reportedly been asking the ECB for updates, but there have been no developments to information as of yet.

England, PTI
England, PTI

England Cricket Team Yet To Be Informed Of The Itinerary, Travel Plans And Accommodations For The Ashes Tour

Response from Cricket Australia to the official tour schedule is being awaited so that England can confirm the availability of the players and send a contingent to Australia to win the urn back. The iconic five-match Test series last took place in 2019 and is at serious risk given Australia’s vulnerable condition with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic at the moment.

The nation recorded its highest number of cases involving the virus yesterday and has seen a surge of cases recently. There are concerns that the long-drawn-out series will not be possible given the rate at which Australia is closing its state borders.

Ben Stokes
Ben Stokes (Image Credit: Twitter)

England’s multi-format players, such as Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes, Mark Wood, and Chris Woakes wouldn’t be willing to spend up about four months away from their families as they will fly to Australia straight from the UAE, where the T20 World Cup will be held.

Some of those will also participate in the second half of the IPL 2021. There is also a prospect of a postponed Ashes tour. Australia is the defending holders of the Ashes going into the series, having won in 2017–18 with the 2019 Ashes series ending in a draw.

Ben Stokes, who announced an indefinite break from cricket due to mental health issues ahead of the England vs India Test series, is highly doubtful to attend Ashes 2021. Ben Stokes is also not part of the upcoming IPL 2021 UAE leg and is highly doubtful for the forthcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2021.

Pacer Jofra Archer has been already ruled out from playing for the entire year. Hence he will not be part of The Ashes 2021 as well. Jofra Archer is preparing for a comeback to the field in March 2022. Olly Stone has also been ruled to due to injury. Joe Root might have a tough job leading the team in the absence of prominent players.

Jos Buttler Hinted He Won’t Be A Part Of The Squad Touring Australia If Families Aren’t Allowed In Australia

England’s players have already cast their doubts over traveling to Australia to compete in the Ashes. Jos Buttler has hinted that he would not be part of the squad if families are not allowed to travel together with the squad. Ben Stokes could also miss the series due to his indefinite break from the sport. The all-rounder is a doubt for the T20 World Cup in the UAE as well.

England batsman Jos Buttler
England batsman Jos Buttler (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Pace bowlers Jofra Archer and Olly Stone have already been ruled out due to injuries. Skipper Joe Root is also apparently worried about leading a weakened squad if senior members pull out of the tour. He believes this is his last chance to claim the Ashes as captain, and the task will be tougher fielding a second-string side against Australia away from home.

England had a horrid record in Australia in the recent past. They have only managed to rack up a single victory across the last two editions of the Ashes played Down Under. They lost the 2013-14 Ashes by a 5-0 margin and followed it up with a 4-1 defeat in the 2017-18 edition.

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