Tom Harrison, CEO of England and Wales Cricket Board clears the air, that it was also the anxiety of the Indian players thinking about the consequences of what might happen if the match went on schedule, apart from the COVID cases that rocked the visiting camp initially.Also Read - IND vs ENG: Darren Gough Blames Virat Kohli & Co For Shopping Before 5th Test
India’s head coach Ravi Shastri along with three other support staff members were the first to test positive and just a couple of hours before the decider, Indian players refused to take the pitch due to safety concerns after physio, Yogesh Parmar was tested positive. However BCCI have announced their partnership with ECB, in an official statement and will try to resolve and reschedule the Final Test. Also Read - BCCI Strikes Back at Kohli-Shastri Regime! Will Kumble Accept The Job Offer?
“It wasn’t an outbreak of Covid, it was a perception of what might happen post the physio testing positive. Over the course of the day, we tried to give as many different assurances that we could to give comfort to the players,” Harrison told Sky Sports. Also Read - Virat Kohli Should Have Consulted BCCI, Selectors: Kapil Dev
“It’s a really sad day, my heart goes out to fans. We are absolutely gutted. Internationally this game gets astronomical audience. It became clear yesterday around lunch time that there was a problem in terms of the anxiety level in the Indian team,” he said.
Harrison reveals the cancelled match could turn out to be a stand-alone match instead of a series-decider as they are looking on other options to settle the matter.
“No, I think it’s a stand-alone situation. We have been offered a few other options, probably need to take a look (at those). The glass half full version of it is that the prospects of playing a one off Test match against India as a focal point on this ground, let’s try to deliver on that. It can be the only good news that comes out of a day like today,” he added.
The Indian Premier League is around the corner and it’s no-brainer that Indian players would be concerned about their well being.
Harrison said “Once you have got that sense of anxiety in the dressing room, it would be very difficult to reverse that. Physical and mental health of players is important.”
“People understand that when you have pulled a hamstring you cannot play but when you have a mental health issue akin to a hamstring pull, that’s less well understood. We are in a situation now that we are not in bio-bubble but in managed living standards, which is better for players. It is not a Covid-free environment but Covid-managed environment.”
“Our insurance covers cancellation for Covid. Fans will get their money back. Our finance department will handle that,” Harrison reassured.