With the dust settling on the storm that led to the fifth Test between India and England being called off, it is now clear that the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have decided to reschedule the match next year. However, the ECB has taken the call that the match will be replayed as a ‘standalone’ Test and have no bearing on the present series that stands cancelled after the Oval game, with India leading 2-1.
Should the ECB not make an official announcement to award the series to India, the International Cricket Council (ICC) will get involved. The Indian board and players have reiterated that the match will not be ‘forfeited’. In case of a forfeit, series honours would have been shared. The ICC will, in all likelihood, also have to intervene and figure out – through their cricket committee, led by former India captain Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid as members – how to work out the World Test Championship (WTC) cycle because of this cancelled Test. The truncated England-India series kicked off the second cycle of the WTC that will culminate in 2023.
India had moved to the top spot of the WTC table, displacing Pakistan after the win at the Oval. However, with the fifth Test getting cancelled and the series result in limbo, the ICC will have to communicate with BCCI and ECB to bring the deadlock to a logical end.
India-England cancel 5th test
Earlier, the fifth Test match between India and England, scheduled to begin on Friday last in Manchester, has been cancelled, the England and Wales Cricket Board announced. Meanwhile, the Indian cricket board has offered to reschedule the cancelled Test match, saying that both boards will work towards "finding a window to reschedule this Test match".
"Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth Test between England and India men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled," ECB said in a media statement. In a separate statement, the Indian board "offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled Test match". 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, the Indian board said.
India suffered a setback during the fourth Test when three members of their support staff including head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive for Covid. Apart from Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar had contracted the virus. On the eve of the fifth Test, a member reportedly tested positive following which the decision to cancel the match had to be taken by both teams.