The final Test of a thrilling series between England and India has been cleared to go ahead as scheduled after the tourists returned a full round of negative PCR tests following a Covid-19 scare in their camp.
After positive Covid tests for Head Coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar during India’s victory at the Kia Oval, a fourth tested positive – reported by ESPNcricinfo to be assistant physio Yogesh Parmar – on Wednesday.
The whole squad was tested for the second time this week and placed in isolation, meaning India’s final training session of the series was cancelled, as well as their media commitments.
This threw the game into doubt, especially given a reluctance in India to compromise the IPL, which resumes in Dubai on September 19. Indian and English players involved will fly from Manchester on Wednesday, the day after the series ends.
But on Thursday evening there was palpable relief when it was confirmed that all tests were negative and the game was set to go ahead as planned on Friday morning.
A cancellation would have been hugely costly to the ECB, with a sellout crowd of 21,500 for the first three days of the game at Old Trafford, and millions in broadcast revenue.
The estimated cost to the home board is £30m, an unimaginable amount after the financial pain of the Covid-19 pandemic which saw the ECB make 62 redundancies.