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Former England pace bowler Steve Harmison berated the Indian team for prioritizing the IPL after the final Test in Manchester was canceled citing covid-19 concerns. The fifth Test was supposed to get underway on Friday but the ECB and BCCI decided to call off the game as a precautionary measure.
Harmison felt the BCCI had been trying much before the start of the series to fit the 5-match Test series in a window that would be suitable for the IPL 2021. If the priority was the Test match, the teams would have postponed and played.
“This is all about the IPL, end of. As much as I’d want to try and sugar-coat it I can’t, I think this is the whole thing is about the IPL starting in five days. What do we get a month before the tour started? India saying ‘can we move the last Test match forward? Can we play four days so we can fit the IPL in?’”
“And all of a sudden, you know, the Test match is off. I’m maybe putting two and two together and getting millions, but it doesn’t sit well with me. It makes me feel so sorry for the people of Manchester,” he said.
“I feel so sorry for the England players and supporters” – Steve Harmison
Steve Harmison accused the Indian team of disregarding the fans who have traveled miles to watch the game. He asserted that Virat Kohli and co. were worried about testing positive and going into quarantine just a few days away from the resumption of the IPL.
“India don’t care about the fans and they don’t care about anything like that. The BCCI runs the game of cricket in the world. For me, they’re the most powerful organization of any individual body in a sport, they run the game and they say what goes.”
“But this is not down to the governing bodies. This is the players saying, you know what, ‘If I catch Covid now, we have to stay here for 10 days, there goes all my money-making options and all the stuff that goes with it’. I feel so sorry for the England players. I feel sorry for England supporters. I feel sorry for the game of cricket because this for me is where it goes if we’re starting to cancel games,” Harmison added.
Postponing the match by two days as proposed by ECB wasn’t an option for the Indian team since the IPL begins on September 19. There wouldn’t have been enough time to recover, travel, quarantine, and play from the first day itself.