England v India Test in doubt after 'new virus case'

England v India Test in doubt after 'new virus case'

India's head coach Ravi Shastri has already tested positive for Covid and will be absent from the fifth Test at Old Trafford
India's head coach Ravi Shastri has already tested positive for Covid and will be absent from the fifth Test at Old Trafford

MANCHESTER (UNITED KINGDOM) - The fifth Test between England and India is under threat after the tourists cancelled a training session and media commitments following reports of a fresh coronavirus case in the camp.

Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar have already been ruled out of attending the Manchester match, scheduled to start on Friday, following positive Covid-19 tests.

India beat England by 157 runs in the fourth Test at the Oval on Monday -- a result that left the tourists 2-1 up with one match to play.

But media reports in India said another member of the backroom staff had now tested positive following a fresh round of testing on Wednesday.

The ESPNcricinfo website named assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar as the affected individual.

India's players have reportedly been ordered to stay in their hotel rooms.

A team spokesman said Thursday's "optional" training session "won't take place now" and he subsequently added a pre-match press conference was unlikely to happen.

Earlier, a Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) source told AFP: "The training session today was called off and all the players have undergone new tests."

Those results are not expected until later Thursday at the earliest.

A worrying issue for India is that Parmar has been directly treating several first-choice players suffering from injuries.

Parmar had to take charge during the fourth Test after lead physio Nitin Patel was forced to self-isolate after being identified as a close contact of Shastri.

The Indian Express newspaper said that the BCCI did not want the fifth Test to go ahead.

The lucrative Indian Premier League Twenty20 tournament resumes in the United Arab Emirates on September 19 -- just five days after the scheduled end of the England tour -- and the board did not want the event to be "impacted", the report said.

- 'Get some game' -

But BCCI president and former India captain Sourav Ganguly was more equivocal.

"We don't know if the match will happen at the moment. Hopefully we can get some game," he said, according to Indian media.

The India squad has had to deal with several coronavirus cases since arriving England in June, when Virat Kohli's men were beaten by New Zealand in the inaugural World Test Championship final at Southampton.

The first was in July when Rishabh Pant, the first-choice Test wicketkeeper, tested positive and the tourists suffered further disruptions.

England's Jos Buttler said the hosts expected the fifth Test to take place as planned.

"We don't know too much about it at the moment," said the wicketkeeper-batsman. "It would be naive to speculate on what's going on. At the moment we're fully expecting the game to go ahead and we're preparing that way."

Asked if England would be undergoing additional virus tests, Buttler replied: "No, all's well in our camp. We trained well this morning and we're looking forward to the game tomorrow."

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