Lancashire issue apology after deciding Test between England and India is cancelled on morning of the match

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Hosts Lancashire have issued a statement after today’s series-deciding Old Trafford Test between England and India was sensationally cancelled this morning.

The decision was announced on the morning of the match after the tourists were unable to field a team due to concerns over Covid-19.

The fifth Test was due to get under way in Manchester at 11am but little more than two hours before the scheduled start a statement from the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed the game would not be taking place.

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Lancashire have also apologising for the inconvenience to all concerned.

Fans gather outside Old Trafford cricket ground after the final Test match between England and India was canceledFans gather outside Old Trafford cricket ground after the final Test match between England and India was canceled
Fans gather outside Old Trafford cricket ground after the final Test match between England and India was canceled

Daniel Gidney, Lancashire’s chief executive, said: “As a club, we are absolutely devastated about the late cancellation of the Test at Emirates Old Trafford.

“We’d like to unreservedly apologise to ticket holders and all those that have or are due to travel to Emirates Old Trafford.

“A full refund will be issued, but we appreciate for many supporters, attending this Test match is more than just the monetary worth.

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“After the last 18 months we’ve all experienced through the pandemic, it’s a fixture cricket fans in the North West have looked forward to for the best part of 18 months.

“You can’t underestimate the work that goes into preparing for a five-day Test match and I’d like to thank all our supporters, guests, suppliers, partners and all those involved for their continued support.

“We are working closely with the England and Wales Cricket Board on next steps and the finer detail that will follow as a consequence of this cancellation. The club will contact ticket and hospitality holders.

“The club would like to once again express it’s sincere apologies for all inconvenience and disruption caused to all involved.”

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The ECB initially said that India will “forfeit the match”, although that wording was removed in an updated version, suggesting negotiations between the respective boards remain ongoing.

Concerns over the viability of the fixture first appeared on the eve of the match, when India cancelled their final training session and failed to complete their mandatory press conference.

It later emerged that the squad was confined to its hotel after a new positive case was returned by one of their backroom team.

Head coach Ravi Shastri had previously tested positive for the virus during the fourth Test at the Oval, where he remains in quarantine with bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar.

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The threat appeared to recede when a fresh round of PCR testing among the remaining members of the travelling party came back negative, but after intense negotiations between the ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India the game was cancelled.

It is understood that a number of Indian players harboured concerns over the spread of the virus and were unwilling to take the field, meaning the tourists could not put up an XI.

The revised ECB statement read: “Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled.

“Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team. We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many. Further information will be shared in due course.”