The cancellation of the fifth and the final Test of the series between India and England at Manchester has raised speculations that the Indian players refused to play because of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2021) that will start on September 19 in UAE.
However, BCCI has said that the match was cancelled due to the players being scared that they might have contacted the virus too. Various former players including Michael Vaughan, Nasser Hussain, Sunil Gavaskar and Virender Sehwag have pitched in their opinions.
Now, former captain of England, David Gower was the latest cricket pundit to have spoken about the issue and said that he hopes for further clarity.
"Wow! No one, least of all I, saw that coming. It leads us into unprecedented territories. I mean I know other matches have been abandoned… sometimes a few balls bowled and various other circumstances but to have the thing called off at the last moment – Virat Kohli e-mailed the BCCI at midnight the day before – the whole sequence of events needs explaining a little bit better," Gower told Cricket.com
"I was up there on the first morning on my way to watch Day 1 to enjoy some cricket, talk to people about the game to talk about the hospitality. But by the time I got there, of course, the situation had rather changed,” he added.
Several top Indian players including Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah, Rohit Sharma and Mohammed Siraj have already reached UAE and started their quarantine. This has given way for speculations that the Test was cancelled due to IPL.
"The worrying thing for me is this: If the IPL was so very closely linked to this, then that to me is very disappointing because… I mean sound old, crusty, but for all those people like me and dare I say, Virat… the last time he was in England, he made a big point about how important Test match cricket is to him… So, for all of us who like Test cricket and value it as the best part of the game, to see a Test abandoned like this was tragic," Gower added.
Gower added that more information that is not in the public will come out in the coming days
"Over the next days and week, more things would emerge. One or two things we haven't heard so far might come out to the public ears. But it does seem by the way that the Indian players have high-tailed out of town so quickly, already in the UAE preparing for the IPL.
Maybe you can argue that it is sensible given the circumstances. It gives them the best chance to be part of it. But maybe that suggests that the IPL and cancellation were linked. There were some private things said between the Indian team and Indian board.," Gower concluded.