India head coach Ravi Shastri is being blamed for the cancelation of the fifth Test between England and India which was to be played in Manchester from Sept 10 onwards. Shastri had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus ahead of the fourth Test at the Oval.
Along with him, bowling coach B Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel had to be isolated and later tested positive for the virus as well. However, the second physio Yogesh Parmar also tested positive for the virus two days before the Manchester Test.
Since he had been treating multiple Indian players, the whole team was asked to isolate and undergo a round of RT-PCR testing and though it came negative for all, the players didn’t want to play the match citing possible positive infection during the encounter and possibly affecting the IPL 2021 and then the T20 World Cup 2021.
“Outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test Match,” said the BCCI in a press release on Friday. Restrictions in the UK were lifted on July 19, which was coined as Freedom Day.
Ravi Shastri, who is being cited as the root of this issue, is being blamed, as he had attended the launch of his book- Star Gazing: The Players in My Life, in London on September 1. Apart from Shastri, several Indian players including Virat Kohli attended the event.
Reports said that the ECB was livid at India’s inability to play in Manchester, but ECB CEO Tom Harrison had attended the book launch as well.
Now Ravi Shastri in a quote to mid-day from London negated the talk of his book release playing a role in him testing Covid-19 positive which was followed by the cancellation of the Manchester Test.
“The whole country [United Kingdom] is open. Anything could have happened from Test One,” Shastri told mid-day.
Shastri instead chose to focus more on his team’s magnificent performance in the Test series which they led 2-1 before the fifth and final Test at Manchester was called off.
“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 on either side of the Thames,” said Shastri.
India had defeated Australia in Australia for the second consecutive time during the 2020-21 tour, winning Test matches in Melbourne and Brisbane and pocketing the four-match series, 2-1.
He said, “No team played in Covid times like this Indian team did in Australia and England. Just ask the experts here. Nothing has given me more job satisfaction in the game and I have been around for a bit as you would know,” remarked Shastri, calling the Indian team’s triumph an “unreal show of character.”