'Members of Team India were seen out in Manchester yesterday; IPL might have a lot to do with Test call-off'

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New Delhi, Sep 10 (IANS) Soon after the Indian cricket board (BCCI) and ECB came to a conclusion to call-off the fifth and final Manchester Test following Covid scare, the English media have levelled some serious allegations against the Indian players and slammed chief coach Ravi Shastri for the “bio-bubble” breach.

Just hours before play was set to begin at the Old Trafford, the game’s cancellation was announced due to India’s fears about a potential Covid outbreak despite all the players’ latest PCR tests returning negative results.

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Four members of the touring party have tested positive this week, with physiotherapist Yogesh Parma testing positive on Wednesday night and joining boss Ravi Shastri and two other members of his staff in isolation.

To this, Daily Mail in its report stated, “Why have India refused to play if not a single player has tested positive? India’s players are desperate not to miss the resumption of the lucrative Indian Premier League in the UAE from September 19. It seems they took the precaution of cancelling their pre-match training session and isolating in their hotel rooms to this end.

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“Indian head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive after attending a busy book launch in a London hotel, along with the entire Indian squad. The ECB were already fuming about a decision which, they believed, jeopardised the Manchester Test, and this morning there were suggestions that members of the touring party were seen out and about in Manchester yesterday – despite promises from the BCCI after the book-launch controversy that they would tighten their protocols ahead of the fifth Test,” it added.

Meanwhile, BBC also believed that IPL might have a lot to do with this call-off. “This is quite bizarre because last night the players all passed their PCR tests. We went to bed thinking the match would go ahead.”

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“I suspect the IPL would have a lot to do with this. It starts in 10 days’ time. The players are on huge contacts. The IPL is worth £300m to the BCCI. They are desperate to protect their product and the players protect their contracts. This stands to cost the ECB £20m, one assumes there would be some negotiations about that with the BCCI. It is a shame Covid has interfered with a brilliant series,’ BBC correspondent wrote.

Interestingly, there were some former cricketers like Kevin Pietersen, Michael Vaughan and Wasim Jaffer who pointed out that England too had left a tour of South Africa following COVID-19 scares.

“England left the tour of SA for Covid scares & cost CSA plenty, so don’t go pointing fingers!” KP wrote on Twitter.

— IANS

cs/kh

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