The cancellation of the fifth and the final Test between England and India at Old Trafford in Manchester has been creating a lot of buzz in world cricket of late. There have been mixed opinions regarding the game being called off just a few hours before the commencement of the final Test. While many believed that the decision was right as they prioritized the health of players and the risk of COVID-19, many believed that Indian players just didn’t want to disturb the schedule of the UAE leg of IPL.
In the same light of events, former English player Paul Newman has criticized BCCI and Indian cricketers for not respecting the purest format of the game. Newman slammed Virat Kohli and Ravi Shastri, as they attended the book launch event which was attended by almost 150 people before The Oval Test.
Paul Newman further stated that the decision has a direct relation with the resumption of the UAE leg of IPL, set to begin on September 19, as when the Test got canceled, players started flying to Dubai in no time. It has to be noted that the Indian head coach tested positive after the book launch event and it was followed by other staff members testing positive for Covid-19 and this is why Shastri couldn’t attend The Oval match.
In his column for The Daily Mail, Paul Newman said, “There is no way the series decider would have been called off on the morning of the first day had the majority of India’s players not been flying to Dubai for the resumption of the richest tournament in cricket.”
He further elaborated, “No India player with an IPL contract wanted to risk playing in this Test, then testing positive and being forced to stay in England for another 10 days, so missing the restart of the tournament in the UAE on September 19. India did not respect this series in pulling out yesterday and they did not respect Test cricket either in flouting Covid guidelines ahead of the fourth Test.“