BCCI President Sourav Ganguly has said that India wants the proposed "standalone" Test between India and England to be considered as the fifth Test of the series which was called off in Manchester due to COVID-19 complications, PTI reported.
This contradicts his earlier statement in which he said that any rescheduled Test match between England and India next year should be a stand-alone match.
"The Old Trafford Test has been canceled. They (ECB) have incurred a lot of losses and it's not going to be easy on [them]. Let things settle down a bit, then we can discuss and decide. Whenever it's held next year, it should be a one-off match since it cannot be a continuation of the series anymore," Ganguly had said in an interaction with the Kolkata-based Telegraph.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has written to the ICC seeking a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRC) verdict on the fate of the canceled match that was to be played at Old Trafford, Manchester. ECB wants ICC to call the result as forfeited by the Indian team, to claim the insurance on the match to offset the losses.
If the ICC deems that the match was abandoned due to COVID-19, then India will officially win the series 2-1 as such cancellation is considered an "acceptable non-compliance" under the World Test Championship rules.
However, now Ganguly has ruled out the possibility of any rescheduled Test being treated as a one-off game.
"We want the series to be completed as this will be our first series win (in England) since 2007. The BCCI maintains that Test cricket is the ultimate format and we won't compromise it for anything," he made it clear,” Ganguly told PTI in an exclusive interview.
India has already offered to play two extra T20I matches when they tour England in July 2022 for a white ball series of 3 ODIs and 3 T20I matches.
Ganguly said: "We are ready to play extra ODI and T20Is and that's not an issue. Just that the Test match that will be played later will be the fifth match of the series."
"There is the precedence of series being canceled because of COVID-19 in the past 18 months. The BCCI canceled its home series against South Africa last year which cost us around 40 to 50 million pounds," the former captain said.
Furthermore, he hoped that in the future, concrete medical advice will be provided that will allow series to go on even with COVID cases within the team.
"Because we understand how detrimental it is to the game in terms of spectators and viewers'' interest (TV and OTT) especially when the series has been of such high quality. Test cricket is BCCI's foremost priority. We are extremely disappointed that this series had to be called off. The only reason is the COVID-19 outbreak and players' safety. We could only push them to a point. But the pandemic is so severe that one can only go that much distance,” Ganguly explained.
Ganguly also answered negatively when asked whether there was the consideration of fielding a fresh team by resting some of the senior players, who were not comfortable.
He said: "No that wasn't an option. If you see Yogesh Parmar (the junior physio who tested positive just before the match) was a close contact of every player. So obviously that was a cause of worry. It was something nobody had any control on and they (the players) had families traveling with them.”
ECB on the other hand wants the rescheduled match to be considered as a stand-alone one.
Ganguly is due to visit London on a personal trip on September 23 and will meet ECB chief Tom Harrison and head Ian Watmore.