The Fifth and Final Test match between England and India was called off only hours before it was supposed to begin after 4 Indian supporting staff screened positive for Covid-19. Former England bowler Steve Harmison has also spoken his opinion on the subject.
According to Harmison, the cancellation of the 5th Test match could be the end of the era for Test cricket. He also believes that when teams begin to cancel games, it is a negative sign.
Harmison also includes that the cancellation of the 5th Test is associated with the Indian Premier League (IPL), which begins on September 19, 2021.
“It’s rubbish, it really is. My initial thoughts are that this is the beginning of the end for Test cricket. When you’re choosing to go down this road, that’s it done. Let’s be fair before we start throwing stones, England did it to South Africa. Let’s get that straight from the very start. We’re not the totally innocent party in this because we came home when we didn’t know what was going on. But this is all about the IPL. End of,” said Harmison.
If we contract COVID now we have to stay here for 10 days and the IPL is starting: Harmison
Steve Harmison, feels that the 5th Test was cancelled because the Indian players did not want to contract Covid-19 before the commencement of the Indian T20 tournament. Harmison further stated, earlier India had asked England to move the 5th Test ahead so that the IPL could be included in the cricket calendar.
“As much as I’d want to sugar coat it, I don’t think I can. The IPL starts in five days, and a month before the tour started India asked if they could move the last Test match forward or clear four days so they can fit the IPL in”.
“We don’t know the full facts, but when teams are pulling out like that, two hours before the match, this is down to players saying, ‘if we contract COVID now we have to stay here for ten days and the IPL is starting”, said Harmison.
He also added that money can make the world go round, the former England right-arm bowler continued by noting that India is showing its muscles and is not eager to play the 5th and final Test match.
“It’s a short window there and money makes the world go round, but there’s a point where integrity comes into it. For me, this is India flexing their muscles and saying, ‘we’re not interested in playing – my bat, my ball, see you later”, concluded Harmison.