Postponed Test earmarked for summer 2022 as ECB denies IPL affected call-off

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Jack Leach
Jack Leach, who has not played in the series, leaves Emirates Old Trafford on Friday

The postponed England-India Test could take place in the summer of 2022, says England and Wales Cricket Board chief Tom Harrison.

The game at Emirates Old Trafford was called off before the start of play on Friday after Covid-19 cases among the India backroom team.

“Refunds to ticket holders will be issued shortly,” said Harrison.external-link

“Although this will be no consolation to many, we will try to reschedule this long-awaited Test next summer.”

He earlier insisted the match’s postponement was not linked to the rescheduled Indian Premier League, which resumes on 19 September.

“This is not a situation which has been created by the rescheduled IPL,” said Harrison.

“I fundamentally do not believe that for a second.”

He said Indian cricket chiefs had offered to reschedule the match but it was unclear whether that would be part of the Test series they lead 2-1, as the first match in another series, or as a stand-alone fixture.

“I don’t know yet. I know fans will be anxious to know that, and players are too. There are sensitivities on every side, but we need to get that answer right,” he said.

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for Covid-19 during the fourth Test, forcing three other members of staff into isolation.

A further member of the support staff tested positive on Thursday, and the fifth Test was called off two hours before the scheduled 11:00 BST start.

The IPL, which was postponed in May amid a rise of coronavirus cases in India, will resume in the United Arab Emirates.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India made an informal requestexternal-link to the ECB in May about altering the schedule of the England-India series to help arrangements for the IPL.

“It’s all about the IPL money,” former England captain Michael Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special.

“Players will be petrified of picking up the virus and having to miss IPL games.”

Harrison said linking the cancellation of the final Test with the resumption of the IPL is “unfair”.

“That is is not the case,” Harrison told BBC Sport. “This Indian cricket team are as passionate about Test cricket as fans in our country are, and as our cricket team are as well.

“India simply felt that they got to a point where they weren’t able to take to the field. That is understandable.

“As administrators, we need to be really clear that mental health has to be a priority for us when we’re thinking about the length of tours and the conditions under which people were expected to perform.”

India were 2-1 ahead in the series, the outcome of which is now unclear.

England, who lost a two-Test series 1-0 to New Zealand in June, have not lost a home Test series to India since 2007.

“There is real disappointment because we wanted to have a crack at this Indian team,” said Harrison.

“Players put an awful lot of work into preparing themselves mentally and physically to be ready, and we were ready.

“It will take a little bit from them to come back down from that emotional let-down.”

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