England’s fifth Test with India is in serious doubt after a member of India’s staff tested positive for COVID-19, talkSPORT understands.
The first day of the match is set to be abandoned, and though the OK could be given for play to get underway on Saturday, there are fears the whole test could now be scrapped.
The member of staff within the India camp returned a positive test on the eve of the match, who was said to have been in contact with several of the India team.
India scrapped their final pre-match training session on Thursday, as well as their mandatory press conference, with the squad confined to their hotel rooms.
The threat to the match appeared to recede when the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed on Wednesday evening that a fresh round of PCR tests had come back fully negative.
But it has been reported that a number of players remain wary of taking the field, with their places in the Indian Premier League potentially at stake.
The Indian team have already been instructed to be under strict bubble conditions outside of playing hours until the end of the match, before flying straight to the UAE for resumption of IPL.
The fifth Test was due to begin at Old Trafford at 11am, but by Friday morning it seemed highly unlikely that any cricket would take place.
The tourists are currently leading the five-Test series 2-1 after defeating England at Kia Oval last week.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India has been, perhaps tellingly, silent on the matter.
The ECB and the BCCI have spent much of the past 24 hours steeped in negotiations and they were continuing even as fans were beginning the journeys to attend the sold-out fixture.
Reports in India claim that physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar’s test returned positive during the evening’s testing after Wednesday’s training session at Old Trafford.
The session on Thursday was subsequently cancelled and the whole India squad had been confined to their rooms until further notice.
The positive test means India have now had four members of staff to contract the virus.
Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach B. Arun and fielding coach R. Sridhar were all COVID positive during the fourth Test in London last week.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is said to be keen on the abandonment of the Test in order to ensure all the players would be able to return for the rescheduled second half of the Indian Premier League.
The event resumes in the United Arab Emirates on September 19.
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