First day of England's sold-out final Test against India is called off

BREAKING NEWS: The first day of England’s sold-out final Test against India is called off just hours before the start as the tourists REFUSE to play after a Covid outbreak among their backroom staff… and the entire match could now be cancelled

  • The first day of England’s fifth and final Test against India has been called off
  • The news comes just hours before the start of play at a sold-out Old Trafford
  • Four members of India’s backroom staff have tested positive for Covid this week
  • It is understood the tourists have refused to play until they have had more tests 

England’s final Test will NOT go ahead today at Old Trafford after India’s players sensationally refused to play.

The game, due to be played in front of a capacity 21,000 crowd, may now be cancelled with India’s players insisting on another round of PCR tests before they even consider starting what might become a four-day match. Or in all probability will not take place.

The extraordinary development came after a fourth member of India’s backroom staff, physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar, tested positive on Wednesday night and joined coach Ravi Shastri and two other members of his staff in isolation.

India recorded a fourth positive Covid test among their backroom staff late this week

England’s players were left in limbo until Friday’s play was eventually called off this morning 

That led to a day of uncertainty and confusion with India cancelling their training session at Old Trafford and being consigned to their rooms at Manchester’s Radisson Hotel before undergoing another round of PCR tests.

They all came back negative and it seemed as though the green light was given to the deciding Test, with India holding a 2-1 lead in what has been a classic series.

But the key to all this is the resumption of the Indian Premier league in the UAE next week, with India’s players desperate not to miss that at all costs. Hence their concern that they might subsequently test positive and be forced into isolation rather than their scheduled flight to Dubai next Wednesday.

India, though, only have themselves to blame after flouting Covid guidelines and attending a book launch in London unknown to the ECB, as revealed by Sportsmail, two days before the fourth Test at the Oval.

Shastri and his bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar tested positive after that function and remain in isolation in London. Now the situation has escalated and 21,000 people due to be at Old Trafford today in a Test that is worth £30million in broadcasting and ticket sales is hanging by a thread. The ramifications of this could be enormous. 

The news comes after India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for the virus on Sunday

England’s players have been training without knowing whether play will go ahead this week 

After a fourth member of India’s staff tested positive, the players were confined to their hotel

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