ECB jump in to make series a draw; BCCI says hold on, forces statement change

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A change in statement from England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) regarding the fifth and final Test against India in Manchester has caught attention. The ECB notably went from mentioning the Old Trafford encounter as a forfeited affair to just a cancelled one in the matter of minutes. 

The England board made a noticeable tweak to their media statement. Having initially published the news that India have chosen to “forfeit the match”, they re-edited the phrasing of that portion in the release and removed the forfeited part. 

In the release issued on Friday (September 10) – what was the scheduled opening day of the Manchester Test – the ECB earlier mentioned, “Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are unable to field a team and will instead forfeit the match.” 

But only minutes later, the board went from stating that India have conceded the game to simply mentioning that the visitors are in no position to field a team. 

“Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.”

Did BCCI play a role behind ECB’s statement change? 

It is being speculated that there may be a role played by the mighty powerful BCCI behind the ECB’s last-minute statement tweak. 

If reports are to be believed, there has been a lot of back and forth between two boards since Thursday (September 9) afternoon when the cloud of uncertainty first hovered over Manchester Test due to COVID-19 scare within the Indian camp. 

While the BCCI and the Indian team were reportedly against forfeiting the contest, it is believed that their English counterparts weren’t in agreement with them and were not willing to settle with a cancellation. 

It was also speculated that the fifth and final Test could be postponed for 2022 when India are due to return to UK for 3 ODIs & 3 T20Is. However, that idea was put to rest on Friday, with the ECB confirming a “cancelled” Test. 

But then what about this statement change? It does seem contentious and forced from outside. Did the English board cave into the pressure knowing the repercussions of ruffling the BCCI feathers? We’ll never know but one thing is for certain, this isn’t the last we’ve heard or read on a Test match which never happened.