Manchester: The fifth Test between England and India in Manchester starting Friday is set to go ahead as scheduled after the England and Wales Cricket Board announced Thursday there had been no further positive coronavirus cases within the Indian camp.
The match was under threat after the tourists cancelled a training session and media commitments following reports Thursday of a fresh COVID-19 case involving a support staff member.
But an ECB spokesman said later Thursday that all subsequent PCR tests from within the India squad had produced negative results and that the Test match “goes ahead”.
Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar have already been ruled out of attending the Manchester match, scheduled to start on Friday, following positive COVID-19 tests.
India beat England by 157 runs in the fourth Test at the Oval on Monday — a result that left the tourists 2-1 up with one match to play.
Another member of the backroom staff — assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar — has tested positive following a fresh round of testing on Wednesday.
Earlier, a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official said: “The training session today was called off and all the players have undergone new tests.”
A worrying issue for India was that Parmar had been directly treating several first-choice players suffering from injuries.
Parmar had to take charge during the fourth Test after lead physio Nitin Patel was forced to self-isolate after being identified as a close contact of Shastri.
The lucrative Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament resumes in the UAE on September 19 — just five days after the scheduled end of the England tour — and the board did not want the event to be “impacted”, the report said.
But BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly was more equivocal.
England’s Jos Buttler said the hosts expected the fifth Test to take place as planned.
“We don’t know too much about it at the moment,” said the wicketkeeper-batsman. “It would be naive to speculate on what’s going on. At the moment we’re fully expecting the game to go ahead and we’re preparing that way.”
Asked if England would be undergoing additional virus tests, Buttler replied: “No, all’s well in our camp. We trained well this morning and we’re looking forward to the game tomorrow.”