Decks are finally cleared for the fifth and final Test between England and India, starting later today at the Old Trafford. Uncertainty prevailed over the match through the day on Thursday after yet another member of the Indian support staff was found Covid-19 positive.
India’s scheduled practice session on Thursday was called off and the players remained confined to their rooms at the team hotel through the day. Team physio Yogesh Parmar was found Covid-19 positive shortly after the nets session on Wednesday. Since he had worked with some of the team members, it was feared that some players might also have been infected. The situation cast serious doubts over the status of the match at the Old Trafford.
Both the boards and the Indian players heaved a sigh of relief as the reports came in later in the evening (India time). It was confirmed that all the players in the India camp were negative.
The team, however, will be without the head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach B Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar. The trio had been quarantined in London since being diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus infection ahead of the Oval Test. Senior physiotherapist Nitin Patel has also been isolated in London for being the close contact of the three coaches. His RT PCR report though had been negative.
With Parmar being diagnosed Covid-19 positive, Team India will have to play the Manchester Test without a physiotherapist.
Meanwhile, there are no COVID-19 related worries in the England camp. Jos Buttler has confirmed that everything was fine in the home team. “We don’t know too much about it at the moment. It would be naïve 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 so fingers crossed the game will go ahead. Things are fine in our camp and we are looking forward to the game,” Buttler said in a virtual press conference.
India go into the last Test of the tour with a 2-1 lead.