Cricket fans have been left seething after the fifth test between England and India at Old Trafford was called off shortly before the day’s play was set to begin.
The ECB released a statement shortly before 9am announcing that India were unable to field a team due to Covid-19 concerns in the tourists’ camp, with two members of their coaching staff having tested positive.
“We know it will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many,” added the ECB. Judging by the reaction online, they certainly were not wrong.
“Appreciate the 2 hours of notice lads,” wrote one fan on Twitter who was due to attend today’s meeting, while another responded: “I’m literally on the train to Manchester now!” Plenty of commenters took umbrage with the amount of money they have forked out to spectate a match which will no longer be going ahead.
“Thanks for the advance notice. We arrived in Mcr last night. Other friends have already set off this morning. Will someone be refunding our train fares and hotels?”, asked one disappointed England fan. Another meanwhile wanted the chance to attend an extra fixture in 2022 as a form of compensation for fans in the North, suggesting: “Are you going to move 1 of the 3 tests in London so there can be a test match at Old Trafford next year to make up for this?!”
Plenty of fans accused the Indian players of pulling out in order to protect their appearance fees for the upcoming second-leg of the lucrative Indian Premier League in the UAE. The players are due to meet up with their respective IPL sides on 15 September.
“Can’t risk losing that IPL money I guess, shame, it was a great series,” said one cynical England supporter. “Stinks of IPL this does absolutely gutted for all the people who have travelled, got hotel accommodation, etc.,” added another.
There was further anger surrounding the scoreline in the series, with the Indians currently leading 2-1. “Absolute bloody disgrace. None of the players have tested positive. The ICC should step in and award England a win if the BCCI can’t field a team.” It is not currently clear what exactly the postponement means for the conclusion of the series.
The ECB concluded its message to fans by explaining: “Further information will be shared in due course.” For furious fans around the country, swift clarifications will certainly be required.