England's final Test set to go ahead after negative Covid India tests
England’s final summer Test gets 11th-hour green light as ALL India players test negative for Covid following a FOURTH positive result among backroom staff – with tourists told forfeiting would cost them £30m!
- India scrapped training on Thursday after staff member tested positive for Covid
- It comes after coach Ravi Shastri’s positive test forced three others to isolate
- They face England at Old Trafford on Friday in the fifth Test of their series
England’s final Test looked to have survived a late scare on Thursday night even though India cancelled their training session at Old Trafford after a fourth member of their backroom staff tested positive for Covid.
India players were ordered to stay in their rooms at Manchester’s Radisson Hotel and undertook a fresh round of PCR tests after physio Yogesh Parmar joined coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar in testing positive.
But at just after 6pm on Thursday it emerged tests on all the players were negative and the game should go ahead even though there is said to still be concern within the India camp.
India have recorded another positive Covid test among their coaching staff ahead of their fifth Test against England on Friday
Earlier in crisis talks on Thursday the India board suggested cancelling the Test to protect the Indian Premier League that resumes next week but it was made clear by ECB they would consider that a forfeiture.
That would not only have left the series all square at 2-2 without players even setting foot on the Old Trafford outfield but the BCCI would have been liable for losses up to £30million in broadcasting revenue and gate receipts from the full-houses expected at Old Trafford’s 21,500 capacity ground.
Relations between the boards are strained now, with ECB still angry over India’s decision last week to flout Covid guidelines by attending a book launch in London, as revealed by Sportsmail, two days before an Oval Test where they took a 2-1 lead in the series with a 157-run win.
England were left with an air of uncertainty after India stars were confined to their hotel rooms
It comes after head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for the virus on Sunday
The India players and coaches, including Shastri and captain Virat Kohli, mixed freely with guests at the packed function at the St James Court Hotel in Victoria.
One guest at the event told Sportsmail: ‘It was horrid. No-one wore masks, apart from waiting staff. It left me feeling very uncomfortable. Everyone went over to Shastri to meet him.’
That flouting of Covid guidelines would have had serious repercussions had the virus rife in India’s backroom staff spread to the players but, incredibly, it has not.
Parmar’s positive result came after a round of testing on Wednesday evening and the big worry for India was that he had stepped up from assistant to be the team’s main physio after lead physio Nitin Patel was deemed a close contact of Shastri.
There was a feeling of frostiness in the England camp after the news of India’s team hit
England’s Jos Buttler said the team ‘fully expected’ the game to still go ahead as planned
That meant Parmar had treated a number of players including Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara Ravindra Jadeja, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma both during the Oval Test and the build-up to this one.
And the ECB were concerned about speculation suggestion India would prioritise the resumption of the IPL in the United Arab Emirates later this month rather than this Test. That would have left them trying to ensure as many of their players stayed healthy by avoiding contact in Manchester until they leave for Dubai next week.
Instead all their players and England ones travelling to the IPL on a charter flight on Wednesday will have to have further PCR tests before they are allowed to fly. For now the show just about goes on and England will have a chance to square the five-match series.
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