While cricket experts and pundits are empathetic with India's decision to call off the final Test match of the England-India series that was set to be played at Old Trafford, former England cricketer Paul Newman thinks otherwise. He criticised the IPL, Indian cricketers, as well as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) even after the match, was called off due reportedly due to COVID-19 scare.
Notably, Indian physio Yogesh Parmar had tested positive for COVID-19 on the eve of the final Test and even though all the Indian players tested negative for the infection, there was a genuine fear among the players of contracting the infection. It is said that the few Indian players were uncomfortable in taking the field and the match had to be cancelled.
Newman, however, believes that the Indian cricketers were tempted not to take the field as they could risk missing the resumption of IPL 2021 on September 19 in Dubai.
No India player with an IPL contract wanted to risk playing in this Test: Newman
"There is no way this series decider would have been called off on the morning of the first day had the majority of India’s players not been flying to Dubai next Wednesday for the resumption of the richest tournament in cricket," he wrote in his column for Daily Mail.
"No India player with an IPL contract wanted to risk playing in this Test, then testing positive and being forced to stay in England for another 10 days, so missing the restart of the tournament in the UAE on September 19," he added.
Should have been no reason why they could not play on once they tested negative: Newman
"The positive PCR test of Yogesh Parmar was the trigger India’s players needed to up sticks and get out of here as soon as possible even after they had all returned negative tests themselves en masse on Thursday evening," he outlined.
"There really should have been no reason why they could not play on once those test results were returned. That is the criterion that has governed every game this season as cricket continues to navigate the complex Covid world. Why should that change now?" he asked.
"India did not respect this series in pulling out yesterday and they did not respect Test cricket either in flouting Covid guidelines ahead of the fourth Test," he further said.
The former seamer, who has played 135 first-class matches and 177 List A games. also blamed Team India head coach Ravi Shastri's book launch event ahead of the fourth Test in London.