In a significant development, the entire Indian squad has returned negative RT-PCR tests after having undergone the second round of Covid-19 testing in Manchester on Thursday morning.
The fifth and final Test between England and India came under jeopardy on the eve of the match after the Indian camp was hit with yet another Covid positive case.
After head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R. Sridhar all tested positive for the deadly virus during The Oval Test, assistant physio Yogesh Parmar joined the list on Wednesday evening.
India’s training session, which was scheduled for Thursday, was immediately canceled and the entire contingent was forced into isolation as ECB medical staff carried out the second round of testing.
Will the fifth Test at Old Trafford finally go ahead as schedule?
The BCCI and ECB conducted a series of meetings on Thursday and reports emerged that the England board had asked the tourists to forfeit the Test match.
The BCCI also conducted a virtual meeting with the team management led by Virat Kohli, coach Ravi Shastri and Rohit Sharma, and the message from the Indian camp was clear that they wanted the game to go ahead.
However, the Indian board was worried that the development could have a cascading effect on the second half of the IPL, which is scheduled to take place from September 19 in the United Arab Emirates.
The prospects of the Test match going ahead as scheduled have brightened but a final call will be taken by the two boards shortly.
The five-match rubber is beautifully poised at 2-1 with Team India vying for a historic series win in the United Kingdom after a gap of 14 years.
Should the match go ahead, the tourists will hope to continue with the good work they have done in the series thus far and cap it off with another victory. India have never won a Test match at Old Trafford in history.
But, given the numerous occasions in the recent past where this team has rewritten history, it shouldn’t come as a surprise if they script yet another fairytale in five days time.