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IND vs ENG 2021: Amid charters for IPL-bound players, BCCI to fly its India-returning contingent on a commercial flight



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While IPL franchises have been scampering to fly their Indian players into the UAE on charter planes, IPL 2021 has learnt that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has arranged a commercial flight for those players and support staff who don’t have IPL duties and are heading home.

English experts and their Indian counterparts have been debating the contentious “cancellation/forfeiture” of the fifth Test, while the IPL franchises have already gotten down to airlifting their Indian players out of the hullabaloo in Manchester.

On the other hand, top sources in the Indian team confirmed to IPL 2021 that the BCCI has arranged a regular flight from Manchester to Mumbai on Saturday (September 11) for those individuals who aren’t associated with the cash-rich league.

Doubts arise as to why the IPL-bound players are mandated to quarantine for six days upon reaching the Emirates. Meanwhile, the BCCI has booked the others on a flight which will have other passengers on it. And this comes after the entire Indian cohort was asked to stay put in the rooms in their Manchester hotel and avail only in-room dining.

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The Mumbai Indians (MI) arranged a charter flight for captain Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Suryakumar Yadav, along with their families, to Abu Dhabi today morning. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK) are expected to do so later today, and the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) will fly Virat Kohli and Mohammed Siraj to Dubai on Sunday morning.

Everything went downhill after India’s head coach tested positive for COVID-19

England captain Joe Root exiting the ground on the scheduled Day 1 of the fifth Test
England captain Joe Root exiting the ground on the scheduled Day 1 of the fifth Test

Clouds of uncertainty hovered over the fifth Test between England and India ever since Ravi Shastri and three other members of the support staff returned RT-PCR positive on Monday (September 6). All of them are double-vaccinated.

The head coach’s lateral flow test reported positive on the penultimate day (September 5) of the fourth Test, days after attending a public event to launch his book at their team hotel.

Bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R. Sridhar were confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 on Day 5 at The Oval. Physiotherapist Nitin Patel returned negative but he too was forced into isolation. The four of them weren’t even allowed to travel to Manchester with the rest of the squad.

The final nail in the coffin, though, came on the eve of the Old Trafford Test when assistant physio Yogesh Parmar went down with the deadly virus. The Test was still touted to go ahead as planned, until things took a final turn on the morning of September 10.

A possibility of the game being postponed by two days emerged before the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) put out an official release confirming the end of the tour. While they initially mentioned, “India are unable to field a team and will regrettably forfeit the match”, the last six words were removed in the latest version of the statement.

The series now stands 2-1 in favour of Virat Kohli’s men, and the two boards have promised to host the fifth rubber when India tour UK next year for a limited-overs series. Well, onto the IPL then?