England’s fifth Test vs India will go ahead as tourists get Covid all-clear

England cricket chiefs can breathe a huge sigh of relief after a complete set of negative Covid test results from India’s players gave tomorrow's final match the green light.

The game had been put in jeopardy following a fourth positive test by a member of their support staff.

Just a week after head coach Ravi Shastri and two other coaches tested positive in London where they remain in isolation, a further staff member has gone down and is understood to have been in contact with several players.

But the entire Indian squad were given PCR tests to see if the virus had spread, and thankfully for the sake of the series they all came back negative.

Both the ECB and the BCCI had been locked in meetings during Thursday discussing how they might handle a positive case or more in the Indian playing group.

It is understood that several Indian players were a little apprehensive about the situation with the rearranged IPL running so close on the heels of this series.

The IPL was postponed in May during a second wave in India and the remainder of the tournament will begin on September 19th in the UAE.

Understandably players do not want to miss out on the tournament, especially when wages are tied to availability and performance.

The BCCI is believed to have originally asked the ECB whether the fifth Test might be moved in order to accommodate the rearranged tournament, but were given short shrift.

And it is clear the ECB were not willing to give up this game at Old Trafford without a fight.

A Test of this magnitude in terms of broadcast revenue both home and abroad, plus the associated income would leave a £30 million black hole in the ECB finances were it to be called off for a reason not covered by insurance such as Covid.

Even though the tests all came back negative, there would still have been a little apprehension from the ECB, knowing that even the thought of Covid could spook players into wanting to leave a tour.

It should be remembered that the ECB pulled out of an ODI series in South Africa following two false positive tests in their tour party much to the annoyance of Cricket South Africa.

They simply refused to play and made it clear that they were putting their players' well-being first and foremost. The BCCI could still have justifiably claimed the very same here.

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