Manchester: The fifth and final Test between India and England has been cancelled due to a "further increase in the number of COVID cases" inside the Indian camp.
"Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth Test between England and India Men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled," ECB said in a statement. "Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.
"We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many," the statement added.
Ahead of the fifth and final Test against England, physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive for COVID-19 in Manchester. This had led to Team India's training session for Thursday afternoon being cancelled.
However, there were no COVID-19 related worries in the England camp and Jos Buttler had said everything is fine and the hosts were looking forward to the game.
"We don't know too much about it at the moment. 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 so fingers crossed the game will go ahead. Things are fine in our camp and we are looking forward to the game," said Buttler in a virtual press conference on Thursday.
This came after India head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar returned positive results to their RT-PCR tests during the fourth Test. They are currently undergoing isolation and can come out only after returning two negative results.
On Sunday, just half an hour before the start of play on Day 4 of the fourth Test, the BCCI said its medical team had isolated Shastri, Bharat Arun, Sridhar, and physio Nitin Patel as a precautionary measure after Shastri's lateral flow test returned positive on Saturday evening.
The remaining members of the Team India contingent had undergone two Lateral Flow Tests -- one on Saturday night and another on Sunday morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for Day 4 of the fourth Test at The Oval against England.