Former England cricketer David Lloyd has revealed he sensed something unusual before the fifth Test between England and India in Manchester went into abandonment. India’s refusal to play the final Test at Old Trafford has the cricketing fraternity and fans divided.
A few hours before the game was supposed to start, fears of the COVID-19 outbreak deepened within the Indian camp. It started when head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive during the fourth Test. Soon the other members of the coaching staff suffered the same fate.
Meanwhile, David Lloyd remarked that doubts had already erupted over the Manchester Test after India’s coaching staff tested positive. Lloyd stated India hadn’t shown up for practice, giving him more clarity despite the ECB announcing the game was on.
“Rumours that the game wouldn’t take place have been circling since the end of the fourth Test and became more prevalent when India coach Ravi Shastri and members of the backroom staff tested positive for Covid. So, at 7pm on Thursday when the announcement came from the ECB that the game was on, I said to Mrs Lloyd: ‘There will be a twist to this yet.”
“What made me so sure? Well, when India didn’t turn up to practise earlier that day it showed their hand. It said to me: ‘We ain’t playing.’ You don’t play if you don’t practise as a team the day before,” Lloyd wrote in his column for The Daily Mail.
To make matters worse, India’s physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for the virus a day before the match. Although the players returned negative, it has certainly affected the morale in the camp mentally. However, several experts reckon that the bio-bubble fatigue was a significant reason behind the visitors pulling out.
India may have denied James Anderson a final hurrah at his home: David Lloyd
Apart from denying the spectators a mouth-watering series climax in Manchester, David Lloyd recognized James Anderson’s plight. He believes the 39-year old had the chance to make it into what might have been his final game at Old Trafford.
“It might be that India’s refusal to fulfil their commitment and play the final Test denied Jimmy Anderson a final hurrah on a ground which bears his name at one end. But the damage is much deeper than that and makes Jimmy’s personal situation incidental. He might not make another England appearance at his home of Emirates Old Trafford.”
Notably, the Old Trafford venue has an end named after Anderson. The right-arm seamer, with 31 Test wickets, is the third-highest wicket-taker on the ground. In the series against India, he bowled his heart out and finished behind Ollie Robinson and Jasprit Bumrah for most wickets.