In a bizarre and utterly disappointing turn of events, the fifth Test match between England and India at Old Trafford has been cancelled, the ECB have confirmed.
It all began during the fourth Test at the Oval, when India head coach Ravi Shastri had tested positive for COVID-19. It led to the bowling coach Bharath Arun, fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar and physiotherapist Nitin Pate having to isolate.
Matters further complicated when another member of the tourists' backroom staff was tested positive, putting the fifth Test into jeopardy.
The entire Indian team has since undergone PCR tests which have come out negative, however, fears regarding an even bigger outbreak, with the Indian Premier League just around the corner, mean that the Test has been cancelled altogether.
An official statement by the ECB read: "Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled.
"Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.
"We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many."
What's interesting here is that the statement earlier read that India had "forfeited" the game. Now that it has been removed, there's no clarity over the result of the Test and the series, which currently stands at 2-1.
If the scoreline stays as is, it will mean that India have themselves their first Test series win in England since 2007. It will also be the first time since 1986 that England end up losing consecutive Test series' at home. Coincidentally, it was India and New Zealand who inflicted the defeats back then, too.
Not to inflict more pain, but it will either way be the first winless Test summer for England since 2001.News Now - Sport News