Days after the cancellation of the fifth and final Test between England and India, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said that it had nothing to do with the Indian Premier League (IPL), which starts on September 19. The Test match was scheduled for September 10-14 at Old Trafford, Manchester. (More Cricket News)
The match was cancelled hours before the toss over COVID-19 fears among Indian players after junior physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar tested positive for the virus. Earlier, head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar had tested positive.
But many, including former England captain Michael Vaughan, blamed the T20 league, saying "Don’t tell me the Test was cancelled for any other reason but the IPL".
Ganguly, however, denied that the upcoming IPL had played any part in the decision. In fact, the former India captain defended the players' decision.
"No, no, the BCCI will never be an irresponsible board. We value other boards too," Ganguly told The Telegraph on Monday.
Earlier, Parmar's positive COVID-19 report had prompted Ganguly to admit that there was uncertainty around the Test. And as it turned out, Indian players decided against taking the field, leaving the fate of the series undecided. India were leading the five-match series 2-1.
"The players refused to play but you can’t blame them. Physio Yogesh Parmar was such a close contact of the players. Being the only one available after Nitin Patel isolated himself, he mixed freely with the players and even performed their Covid-19 tests. He also used to give them a massage, he was part of their everyday lives," Ganguly added.
Sharing players' concerns, the 49-year-old said one needs to respect their feelings.
"The players were devastated when they came to know that he had tested positive for Covid-19. They feared they must have contracted the disease and were dead scared. It’s not easy staying in a bubble. Of course, you have to respect their feelings," said.
Ganguly however refused to comment on Shastri’s book launch event in London which is being blamed as the possible reason for the spread of the virus in the squad.
"No comments. I don’t wish to say anything," the former opener said, but revealed that "no permission was sought" from the BCCI for the event.
Ganguly also hinted that England and India are likely to play a one-off match next year "since it cannot be a continuation of the series any more."
"The Old Trafford Test has been cancelled. They have incurred a lot of losses and it’s not going to be easy on England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB). Let things settle down a bit, then we can discuss and decide," Ganguly added.
He is going to London on September 22.