The BCCI argued against the logic and TOI understands the discussions began to border on a serious clash of opinions before matters came to rest.
It is also learnt that the BCCI, during all this, was in touch with the team management and senior cricketers. India captain Virat Kohli and vice-captain Rohit Sharma are learnt to have conveyed, in absolute clear terms, that the Indian team would not forfeit the Test match – even if it meant playing the game under the Covid cloud.
Kohli and Sharma, in particular, are in no mood to relent. The two senior India cricketers have conveyed it to one and all that should Covid disturb things, the Test match can be cancelled provided India takes the series 2-1 or they, apropos of Covid, are ready to play the Test as and when decided between the two Boards.
The BCCI conveyed to these senior cricketers to “hold their horses” and further took up the matter with the ECB, who have relented.
Going into the fifth Test match, the series was beautifully poised at 2-1 in India’s favour with the latter winning the fourth Test match at the Oval. It should be pointed out here that had the final session of the Trent Bridge Test match not rained out, India were firm favourites to take the game.
At 52-1 in the second innings, with nine wickets in hand on a quick-scoring ground, India needed 157 more to get to a win on Day Five with Rohit Sharma and Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease.
“If it can be argued that the Nottingham Test match could’ve gone either way, it can be argued that Manchester could go either way. Now, the point is, what if the threat of Covid goes either way? In that case, the Test match doesn’t happen, the IPL is risked and there’s a cascading after-effect to everything that ensues,” say those in favour of the Test match getting cancelled.
Last heard, the ECB was still deciding on whether to back out from its demand in asking for a forfeiture or stick to their stand. The BCCI, meanwhile, has bigger worries – putting its best foot forward to ensure that the players are not put in a position of embarrassment, everybody remains safe, and the IPL remains on course – going forward.
For the record, two days of the Old Trafford Test are suspect to heavy rains anyway, given the weather forecast.