Ravi Shastri | Sportzwiki

Ravi Shastri

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
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Ravi Shastri Told Virat Kohli And Selectors Not To Unleash Pacer Jasprit Bumrah In Tests In Indian Soil

Ravi Shastri was ready to put his money on pacer Jasprit Bumrah being an all-format bowler so much that he even told captain Virat Kohli and the selectors not to reveal him before the South Africa tour in 2018.

When Jasprit Bumrah with an unorthodox bowling action burst onto the scene in the cash-rich IPL playing for Mumbai Indians in 2013, very few believed he could make it big at the international level. Those who predicted he would gain stardom were only vouching for Jasprit Bumrah’s white-ball skills.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli PTI Photo by Shashank Parade (PTI11_21_2014_000176B)
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli PTI Photo by Shashank Parade (PTI11_21_2014_000176B)

Ravi Shastri Told Virat Kohli And Selectors Not To Unleash Jasprit Bumrah In Tests Before 2018 Cape Town Test Against South Africa

There was hardly anyone willing to put their weight behind Jasprit Bumrah as the Test cricketer apart from India head coach Ravi Shastri who vouched to include Jasprit Bumrah in Tests. After making his limited-overs ODI and T20I debuts in Australia in 2016, pacer Jasprit Bumrah quickly built a reputation of being a bankable seam bowler. It was Ravi Shastri who insisted not to ‘unleash’ Jasprit Bumrah on Indian pitches in Test cricket.

“No one believed Jasprit Bumrah could play Test cricket. He was a white-ball bowler. But when I took over as coach I asked myself: ‘How do I take 20 wickets overseas?’ said Ravi Shastri.

Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)
Jasprit Bumrah (Photo by PETER PARKS / AFP)

“I knew I needed four great fast bowlers because I had played so much Test cricket against the West Indies. It started in South Africa in 2018 and we lost that fantastic series 2-1. I wanted to unleash Bumrah in that first Test in Cape Town. I bounced the idea off Virat months before and told the selectors: ‘Do not unleash him in India. I don’t want the world to see him in Test cricket before Cape Town.’ That was three years ago. Since then he’s taken 101 wickets [in 24 Tests]. It’s remarkable,” Ravi Shastri said.

Jasprit Bumrah was an instant success in his first Test appearance in Cape Town. His delivery to Proteas batsman AB de Villiers that found the gap between his bat and pad had a stamp of class and authority. Since then, the right-arm seamer has never looked back.
In his three years at the Test level, Jasprit Bumrah has proved coach Ravi Shastri right and all his doubters wrong.
During the recent Test series in England, he was India’s most impressive seamer and even went on to become the fastest Indian pace bowler to reach 100 Test wickets.
Before his achievement, Kapil Dev held the record, getting to the feat in 25 Tests, but the World Cup-winning captain’s record was bettered by Jasprit Bumrah, who picked up his 100th Test scalp in his 24th game. He has picked 6 five-wicket hauls and his career-best figure is 6/27 and his career average is 22.79 which is quite impressive.

Jasprit Bumrah Will Ply His Trade For The Mumbai Indians In IPL 2021 UAE Leg

Jasprit Bumrah, who will ply his trade for the Mumbai Indians in IPL 2021 resuming on Sunday at the UAE, had major roles to play in India’s historic back-to-back Test series wins in Australia in 2018-19 and then in 2020-21.

Ravi Shastri said that India had the upper hand in the series when he was asked about the outcome of the England series which is still undecided as the fifth Test was cancelled due to Covid-19 concerns in the Indian camp.
Jasprit Bumrah
Jasprit Bumrah (Image Credit: Twitter)

“I think so because you are playing overseas and you’re ahead with one game to go. Look at the first Test [India were 52 for one and chasing 209 when the rain ruined the final day]. We would have knocked off those runs, definitely. It could have easily been 3-1. Then no one would have cared for the last Test,” Ravi Shastri added.

Jasprit Bumrah is one of the best bowlers in recent times in the world at the moment and he showed his class in the recently concluded red-ball Test series against England. He finished as the highest wicket-taker for India in the four Tests and picked up 18 wickets. In his prime form, Jasprit Bumrah has been one of the match-winners for the Mumbai Indians and has bowled splendidly in the India leg of IPL 2021 as well.

The right-arm quick was superb in the previous edition of IPL 2020 held entirely in UAE too by being the 2nd highest wicket-taker and he enjoyed the conditions really well. He used the pace of the wickets to his advantage and executed the yorkers to perfection. In the first leg of IPL 2021, the right-arm pacer with an unorthodox action scalped 6 wickets in 7 matches at an average of 32 and an economy of 7.11. In the previous season in IPL 2020, he picked 27 scalps in 15 games averaging an awesome 14.96.

World Test Championship, India
Indian test team[photo: Twitter]
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Paul Newman Blames IPL 2021 For 5th Test Cancellation Saying “India Did Not Respect Test Cricket”

Paul Newman did not shy away from firing shots at the IPL, Indian cricketers, and the BCCI after the fifth Test against England in Manchester was cancelled due to Covid-19 fears in the Indian camp. India’s assistant physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for Covid-19 on the eve of the series-decider sending tremors down the Indian dressing room and ultimately leading to the cancellation of the match.

The former English cricketer said the Indian cricketers did not want to take the field because they did not want to risk missing the resumption of IPL on September 19 in Dubai.

Paul Newman (Image credit: Reuters)
Paul Newman (Image credit: Reuters)

Paul Newman: No India Player With An IPL Contract Wanted To Risk Playing In The 5th Test, Testing Positive And Be In England Missing Restart Of IPL 2021

Paul Newman, however, said the Indian cricketers did not want to take the field because they did not want to risk missing the resumption of IPL on September 19 in Dubai.

“There is no way this series decider would have been called off on the morning of the first day had the majority of India’s players not been flying to Dubai next Wednesday for the resumption of the richest tournament in cricket.

“No India player with an IPL contract wanted to risk playing in this Test, then testing positive and being forced to stay in England for another 10 days, so missing the restart of the tournament in the UAE on September 19,” Newman, who has played 135 first-class matches and 177 List A games, wrote in his column for the Daily Mail.

India vs England Test
India vs England Test- Image Credit: Twitter

“The positive PCR test of Yogesh Parmar was the trigger India’s players needed to up sticks and get out of here as soon as possible even after they had all returned negative tests themselves en masse on Thursday evening.

“There really should have been no reason why they could not play on once those test results were returned. That is the criterion that has governed every game this season as cricket continues to navigate the complex Covid world. Why should that change now?”

Junior physio Yogesh Parmar was tested positive for COVID-19 and even the ECB in their press release explained that the Indian players will not be able to take on the field. Now, former English cricketer Paul Newman has slammed Indian players for flouting the rules.

Paul Newman: India Did Not Respect Test Cricket And Series

Paul Newman said that India did not respect this series and they did not respect Test cricket by violating the guidelines of Covid-19 before the fourth Test.

“India did not respect this series in pulling out yesterday and they did not respect Test cricket either in flouting Covid guidelines ahead of the fourth Test,” he added.

The former seamer also blamed India head coach Ravi Shastri‘s book launch event ahead of the fourth Test in London. Paul Newman was quite angry with the Indian team pulling out of the series and slammed Virat Kohli and men for pulling out the series.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri's book launch event in London | Twitter
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri’s book launch event in London | Twitter

“This whole outbreak in their camp could well have been started by the presence of Shastri along with captain Virat Kohli and several players and staff at a book launch at a London hotel attended by more than 150 people two days before the Oval Test.

“It was a breach of protocols that privately angered those at the ECB who have done so much to keep the show on the road in the last 18 months, not least with three Tests at Old Trafford last year that salvaged millions of pounds of revenue for the game. What a way for Lancashire to be rewarded for all they did then,” he said.

He said that the team disrespected the series by pulling out in this fashion. The former England cricketer also slammed the Indian team for flouting COVID-19 rules and not following the given guidelines. The England Cricket Board was about to write to the ICC for seeking the results of the last Test match.

The coach of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 winning Indian team Gary Kirsten being carried on the shoulders of the champion team after India defeated Sri Lanka in the finals to lift the World Cup. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)
The coach of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 winning Indian team Gary Kirsten being carried on the shoulders of the champion team after India defeated Sri Lanka in the finals to lift the World Cup. (Photo: Twitter/@ICC)
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Gary Kirsten, 2011 World Cup-winning Coach, Isn’t Interested In Coaching India At Present

Former South African cricketer Gary Kirsten has said that he isn’t looking at making a comeback as Team India’s coach. Team India’s backroom staff is all set to be revamped after the conclusion of the T20 World Cup 2021 as the contracts of head coach Ravi Shastri and other coaches are set to end. Ravi Shastri and his team’s contracts were extended for two years in 2019 by the Kapil Dev-headed Cricket Advisory Committee.

Apart from a new head coach, India will also have new members in the backroom staff. While there are a number of veteran coaches who would be eager to work with India, one name that could pip everyone in the race is that of South African Gary Kirsten.

Gary Kirsten coached Team India from 2007 to 2011.
Gary Kirsten coached Team India from 2007 to 2011. | Photo Credit: BCCL

Gary Kirsten Isn’t Interested In Coaching India At Present

India’s only 50-over World Cup-winning coach, Gary Kirsten had a stint with Team India between 2007 to 2011. Apart from winning the ICC event, India also climbed to the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for the first time under him. Gary Kirsten was in line to make a comeback in BCCI’s system when he was named as CAC’s first choice for the role of the Indian women’s team’s head coach, in 2018.

Since he was associated with Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gary Kirsten couldn’t take up the job. He was also in the race to become the England cricket team’s head coach. But that too didn’t happen. A decade after quitting the coveted post, Gary Kirsten answered the million-dollar question of making a comeback as India’s coach and also spoke about his IPL gigs.

“Not at this stage. I’m involved in a business called CoachED (www.coachedcricket.com) which focuses on providing access to online coaching certification for coaches in academies, schools and associate countries. I’m passionate about coach education and I know, with personal experience, the value of quality coaching for any player. CoachED has afforded me the privileged opportunity to serve the game globally and work with young aspiring coaches,” said Gary Kirsten.

Sachin Tendulkar carried on the shoulders of his teammates after the 2011 World Cup win | AFP
Sachin Tendulkar carried on the shoulders of his teammates after the 2011 World Cup win | AFP

“India has very successfully moved ahead of the game and is using their primary competitive advantage (depth of players) to great benefit across all the formats,” said Gary Kirsten on change of Indian core and changes in fitness levels.

Gary Kirsten has said that he isn’t looking to make a comeback as Team India’s coach. Gary Kirsten was at the helm of affairs when India won 50-over World Cup in 2011. Gary Kirsten has coached Royal Challengers Bangalore and Delhi Capitals in IPL.

Gary Kirsten: Coaching Is Very Different In The IPL

Former India coach Gary Kirsten, who has seen Virat Kohli from close quarters, reckons he has kept growing. Admitting that he has worked with Virat Kohli – the leader – for merely a year, Gary Kirsten believes the Indian captain is doing a fantastic job.

“I have really only done one season with him as captain. He is doing a fantastic job for his country. Like any young captain, with more experience and understanding of what it takes, he has got better and better. The are many fantastic match-winners in the Indian team, currently.” on Virat Kohli as new skipper.

“Coaching is very different in the IPL than in any other environment. I’m really enjoying coaching in T20 cricket which requires a different set of skills compared to working with an international team. I think the most successful IPL coaches have been able to create continuity with their playing squad. The relationship between the coach and the owner and the systems they co-create is vital to sustainable success,” on coaching in IPL.

“I believe too many owners employ new coaches and make big changes to their playing squad in the hope that there will be a quick turnaround of results and then ongoing success. Cricket seldom works likes that, especially with the margins for winning and losing so small in an IPL game,” on IPL.

Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo:AFP)
Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni (Photo: AFP)

“Coaching has changed significantly, especially in T20 cricket. Coaches are generally doing all the strategic preparation for matches and have close relations with Analysts who assist them with an endless and rich bank of data. Recruitment and match strategy has become as much a part of the skill sets of coaches as player relationships and man-management systems.” on coaching change.

“It’s an exciting time for coaches and I don’t think we are a long way before coaches can communicate with their captains on the field to make real-time strategic decisions,” concludes Gary Kirsten.

Gary Kirsten was the head coach of the MS Dhoni-led Team India in the 2011 World Cup. His guidance and expertise helped the MS Dhoni-led side lift the 2011 WC crown in India.

With the IPL second leg coming up, Gary Kirsten – who has worked briefly with Delhi and Bangalore IPL franchises -reckoned coaching teams in the lucrative league is very different. He admitted that he is enjoying coaching in T20 as it requires a different set of skills compared to working with an international team.

Michael Atherton
Michael Atherton
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COVID-19, Player Power And IPL 2021 Combined To Manchester Test Abandonment: Michael Atherton

Michael Atherton believes that Covid-19 or the IPL alone is not a factor and that three factors overall and their combination resulted in the abandonment of the deciding 5th and final Test at the Old Trafford Cricket Stadium in Manchester. The cancellation of the fifth Test between India and England in Manchester came as a big let-down for players and fans alike.

With India leading the series 2-1, the final deciding Test promised to be a mouth-watering clash, but the match never happened, and a lot is being talked about what could have been the reason behind it. Former England captain Michael Atherton is the latest to present his views.

Michael Atherton Image Source : GETTY IMAGES
Michael Atherton Image Source: GETTY IMAGES

Michael Atherton: Covid-19, Player Power And IPL 2021 Combined To Manchester Test Abandonment

While the Covid-19 scare is certainly one of them, with India’s assistant physio Yogesh Parmar testing positive for the virus, there could be more factors that led to the calling off of the Manchester Test. Some reports claim that Indian players, despite testing negative on the eve of the match, were reluctant to take the field, while some others are blaming the IPL, believing that players prioritized the IPL since the tournament was to resume from September 19.

However, Michael Atherton has offered a fresh take on the entire episode. Michael Atherton believes that Covid or the IPL alone is not a factor and that three factors overall and their combination resulted in the abandonment of the Manchester Test.

“Covid-19, player power and the Indian Premier League combined to scupper the fifth Test in Manchester yesterday, to the consternation of the Lancashire club and the 85,000 or so supporters who had bought tickets to attend the first four days. There was a profound sense of shock and disappointment over the cancellation of the match, especially at the end of a compelling series that stood at 2-1 to India with everything to play for,” Michael Atherton wrote in his column for The Times.

India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)
India vs England (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

“That there has been so little international cricket lost to Covid is, amid the anger and sadness, a surprise too. Authorities recognized that they could not ask players to operate in last summer’s strict bio-secure bubbles, as society was opening up again. Inevitably this relaxation increased the risk of a Covid outbreak.

“County games have been affected this summer, as was the ODI series against Pakistan, which required a whole new England squad, and now a Test match has gone, although space will probably be found in the calendar at some point to mitigate the loss of broadcast income,” Michael Atherton wrote.

Why certain players and experts hold the IPL responsible for the cancellation is because of what transpired after the match was called off. Several key players were flown to the UAE on charter flights as early as possible, so they could undergo a six-day quarantine, re-join the squad and be ready for the IPL 2021, which resumes next Sunday.
The majority of Indian players playing the Test series have joined their IPL franchises in UAE. They are now serving the six-day mandatory isolation period. The 2nd phase of IPL 2021 kicks off on September 19. Ravi Shastri and other COVID-19 positive coaches will land in India after completing their isolation period. They will likely reach UAE for T20 World Cup next month.

Michael Atherton Points Out That There Was A Potential Danger Over The Manchester Test Due To The Proximity Of The IPL

The likes of Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Virat Kohli, and Mohammed Siraj have already reached the UAE and entered mandatory quarantine, while more are expected to arrive shortly. Keeping this in mind, Michael Atherton makes an interesting point.

“The proximity of the IPL was always a potential danger hanging over the Manchester Test: before the summer began there were pointed discussions between the ECB and BCCI about rescheduling the fifth Test for earlier in the summer, something the ECB held firm on. India’s players were concerned that further positive tests would result in a ten-day isolation period in England, thus meaning they would miss the start of the tournament, while the cost to the BCCI of not staging the IPL is about £360 million,” Michael Atherton further wrote.

Rohit Sharma
Rohit Sharma (Image Credit: Twitter)

“After the India players’ stated reluctance on Thursday evening, officials from the ECB and BCCI were locked in discussions throughout the night to try to navigate a way through the situation, with the ECB providing whatever assurances it could around the safety and well-being of the players.

“No solution was forthcoming, which reflects on where the balance of power lies in the modern game. Once the players had spoken, there was little the administrators could do about it. Players have never been more powerful than now,” Michael Atherton said.

The players started departing in clusters — some in charter flights arranged by their franchises like Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad while Chennai Super Kings cricketers took commercial flights.  The ECB has written to the ICC seeking an outcome to the Test series. Although the BCCI has stated that the Indian board and the ECB are hoping to work towards staging the cancelled Test match, nothing is concrete yet.

Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
Ravi Shastri Image Source : AP
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Ravi Shastri Defends Book Launch Event

Ravi Shastri has defended his book launch event, saying that anything could have happened from the opening Test match of the series. The Indian cricket team’s camp was hit by COVID-19 last week when Ravi Shastri’s lateral flow test returned positive after day 3 of the 4th Test match. Following him, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar contracted the infection.

On the eve of the 4th Test, junior physio Yogesh Parmar also tested positive for COVID-19, which led to the cancellation of the 5th Test match, which was to start on September 10. While the source of COVID-19 isn’t known, some are criticizing Shastri for his book launch event as it took place with over 100 people in attendance.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri's book launch event in London | Twitter
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri’s book launch event in London | Twitter

Ravi Shastri: The UK Is Open As Anything Could Have Happened From 1st Test

Indian skipper Virat Kohli and other members of Team India were also present at the event. Ravi Shastri, who is in isolation in the UK, has responded to the criticism and defended the book launch event.

“The whole country [United Kingdom] is open. Anything could have happened from Test One,” Shastri was quoted as saying by mid-day.

“It’s been the best summer of cricket England has seen in a long time certainly from an Indian cricket team. It’s Covid times, awesome summer though. The boys were fantastic either side of the Thames.”

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

The cancelled 5th Test match is likely to take place at a rescheduled date as the BCCI said that the two boards will look to find a window for the fixture. Team India is scheduled to play a white-ball series against England next year and the one-off fixture could take place then.

Indian Players Who Feature In IPL Too Joined Their Respective Franchises And serving 6 Day Mandatory Quarantine Period

Meanwhile, the majority of Indian players have joined their IPL franchises in UAE. They are now serving the six-day mandatory isolation period. The 2nd phase of IPL 2021 kicks off on September 19. Ravi Shastri and other COVID-19 positive coaches will land in India after completing their isolation period. They will likely reach UAE for T20 World Cup next month.

The players started departing in clusters — some in charter flights arranged by their franchises like Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers Hyderabad while Chennai Super Kings cricketers took commercial flights. RCB captain Virat Kohli and his premier pacer Mohammed Siraj also took a charter flight from Manchester.

The three Punjab Kings players in the Indian Test side – KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, and Mohammed Shami – are also taking commercial flights out of England. England players in the franchise, none from the Test side, will travel later. As many as six Indian Test players – Rishabh Pant, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Umesh Yadav, and Axar Patel – play for Delhi Capitals. They will join their IPL bubble on Sunday.

Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli (Image Credit: Twitter)

The six-day quarantine rule led to some pull-outs. England trio Jonny Bairstow (Sunrisers Hyderabad), Chris Woakes (Delhi Capitals), and Dawid Malan (Punjab Kings) decided to give the IPL second phase a miss. It isn’t known if the three opted out after consulting the English Cricket Board to manage workload. All three are expected to feature in the Ashes series at the year-end.

Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
Sunil Gavaskar. (Photo Source: Twitter)
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Sunil Gavaskar Urges People To Find Out The Truth Before Criticising India

Sunil Gavaskar has urged people to find the truth before criticising the Indian team. The cancellation of the fifth Test match has thrown a lot of people into a puzzle. Initially, it was believed that the Indian team refused to take part in the series-deciding game in Manchester, with reports doing the rounds that players were not keen on taking the field after their physio Yogesh Parmar had tested positive.
Whereas later on, contradicting reports emerged, which stated that the calling off of the Manchester Test was not due to the outbreak of Covid but because of the uncertainty of what might happen next within the players, stated England and Wales Cricket Board CEO, Tom Harrison.
Sunil Gavaskar File image of former India captain | AFP
Sunil Gavaskar File image of former India captain | AFP

Sunil Gavaskar Urges To Find Out The Truth Before Criticizing India For 5th Manchester Test Cancellation

While many have been quick to jump the gun and blame India for the outbreak of Covid – Ravi Shastri’s book launch is taking most of it – and cancelling the final Test, former captain Sunil Gavaskar has urged people to find the truth before criticizing the Indian team.

“How does anyone know that it happened during the book launch? Because even after the book launch, when players were tested, they were negative. From what I’ve heard, the tests that took place on the eve of the match were all negative. So if none of our players were positive, what was the problem?” Gavaskar said on Sports Tak.

Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri's book launch event in London | Twitter
Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli during Shastri’s book launch event in London | Twitter

“And reports that suggest the Indian players refused to play the match, I want to know who it was? These reports are only in English papers. They will never say or write anything good about the Indian team; they will always hold them responsible. Please find what is the truth and then point fingers.”

Sunil Gavaskar was also pissed with the fact that people in India were buying the lies that the English media was feeding them and were targeting their own team and players on social media, without knowing the whole truth.

Sunil Gavaskar Request Not To Make Allegations That Indian Team Refused To Play The 5th Test Without Any Proof

Sunil Gavaskar feels the chances of Indian players being the ones to refuse are slim, purely due to the manner in which they had performed in the Test series. With India leading it 2-1, with one game to go, Sunil Gavaskar reckons India would have instead been willing to take the field and finish the series 3-1 to register their maiden Test series win in England in 14 years.

“Our players worked so hard to lead the series 2-1. And in Manchester, their bowlers would have been aided… why wouldn’t they want to play? They would want to play the match because they can win the series 3-1.

“So I will never believe that Indian players refused to play the 5th Test. If these reports are true, then the BCCI needs to officially say, that Yes, our players said that they won’t play. Else, I would request not to make such claims without any proof,” the former India batsman added.

Indian Test Team
Indian Test Team[photo: Twitter]
Various reports in English media speculated that the English board wasn’t pleased with India’s head coach Ravi Shastri for attending his book launch event with several members of the team two days before the fourth Test. Some reports also claimed that some of the Indian players, despite testing negative for the coronavirus on the eve of the fifth Test, weren’t very keen on taking the field and that’s why the match had to be called off.

The BCCI or the ECB both released their respective statements and there was no mention of any of the reasons stated above, which leads to the question of whether any of it was actually true or was just lies spread by the English media to tarnish the image of the Indian cricket team and portray them as the villains.Besides Ravi Shastri, several other Indian players, including skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara, had also gone to the same event and none of them tested positive for the virus.

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.

Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
Dinesh Karthik file image. (Photo: Surjeet Yadav/IANS)
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Indian Players Got The Jitters After Assistant Physio Yogesh Parmar Tested COVID-19 Positive: Dinesh Karthik

Dinesh Karthik has revealed that the Indian players got the jitters after assistant physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for COVID-19, making them uncomfortable to play the fifth and final Test against England, which was called off hours before its start on Friday.

The game, scheduled to be hosted by Old Trafford, is now expected to be played at a later date. Dinesh Karthik, who is now part of the IPL bubble, had commentated for the first three Tests before he left to join the KKR squad in the UAE to participate in the IPL.

Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)
Former KKR skipper Dinesh Karthik (Photo | PTI)

Dinesh Karthik: Indian Players Were Tired And Both Their Physios Tested Covid-19

Senior physio Nitin Patel had tested positive during the fourth Test in London alongside head coach Ravi Shastri and two other support staff members Bharat Arun and R Sridhar.

“I spoke to a few of the guys (Indian players). This is tiring. Almost all games have gone down the wire, they are tired and they have only one physio right now. They had two, but before this one went down along with the chief coach, another couple of the coaches, so they had one physio, so they’ve done a lot of work with that man. And now he tests positive. Now, that is the problem,” Dinesh Karthik told Sky Sports.

“If it was somebody else, somebody was helping you know in terms of logistics and all that they wouldn’t be this afraid but when this person got it, the physio, I think that’s when they got the jitters a little bit,” he added.

Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)
Dinesh Karthik Photo: © Reuters (Main Image)

The series wasn’t taking place in a strict bubble but the players were told to stay indoors for the duration of the fifth Test before taking a flight to the UAE and get into another bubble.

“You also have to understand, as soon as this finishes, they have the IPL soon after that the World Cup, and soon after that the New Zealand series and we are talking about literally one week turnarounds,” Dinesh Karthik said.

“How many bubbles can they do? When they left, when they rather assembled in India they assembled on May 16 it’s four months almost four months. That’s a lot of time already, ” Dinesh Karthik said.

The wicketkeeper-batsman said the players understandably had a tough time mentally once the junior physio tested positive and there was no way day one of the series deciders would have happened as per schedule.

“Let’s take an example for today, most of the guys today haven’t even slept till 2.30-3 in the morning because they don’t know if they have to be ready for the match, they don’t know because you know it’s it’s very late in India, so they don’t know if they’re going to be able to speak to ECB those kinds of discussions were gone, ” Dinesh Karthik said.

So most of them haven’t even slept till 3 O’clock so the Test match happening timely was out of the question almost.

“It’s whether they can delay it further, but you have to imagine you have to remember this that there is a good chance that in the RTPCR test three days later, someone could test positive and if he’s in the playing 11, then what happens to that person,” he said.

“Is he going to spread it around? Is he this super spreader for that point of time, that puts every other player in jeopardy, and then they have to stay 10 days in England then what happens to the IPL, which is supposed to start four days after they land in Dubai.

So it has so many other questions, it’s not necessary that they’ve tested negative today means that two days later they will test negative again. Even if it is one person who does test positive, then that puts the whole thing into another different dimension,” said Dinesh Karthik.

Dinesh Karthik, who was in England till last month as a commentator, said that a lot of the Indian players couldn’t sleep till 3 in the morning, and hence it was almost impossible to go ahead with the Manchester Test. He went on to add that with the IPL just days away, the Indian players were hesitant with this match going ahead as scheduled. The T20 World Cup begins after the IPL and then, India would take on New Zealand.

Dinesh Karthik: Cricketers Were Fearful About Taking The Virus To The IPL Bubble

He informed that the players have been told to remain in their rooms.

“Yes, they are all in the rooms. They have not moved out since the time they heard about the physio. They’ve all been told to stay in the rooms and not move out. And that’s exactly what they’re doing.” Asked if the players were fearful about taking the virus to the IPL bubble,” he said: “Absolutely.

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

“That is one thing you got to understand, for so long a lot of IPL teams have already come and started quarantined and all of that, the Indian team have not had a major bubble so to say, up until this Test, where they have been told to try not to go out of your rooms even during the game.

But now you know, with a positive result for a certain person, it’s completely different but they’ve been informed that you know we are, we are moving from a bubble to a bubble so we have to kind of make bubble in England when we are here.”

“So for this last test everybody has been told to stay in the rooms don’t move or try and order room service. Play the Test match and get on with it and let’s get to IPL after that so that’s kind of been the mood so to speak (before the match was called off),” added Dinesh Karthik.

Most Indian players have either reached or are en route to the UAE for the IPL, their immediate priority now.

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.

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