VVS Laxman has stated that, looking at the circumstances in which the Manchester Test between India and England was cancelled, it is inappropriate to point fingers at Indian players. Laxman explained how it can be very difficult for the players to play the game in such a mental state.
The fifth Test match between India and England was canceled on Friday, September 10, after growing Covid-19 concerns within the Indian camp. Earlier during the Oval Test, head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar had been tested covid positive and were subsequently sent into isolation.
Later, on the eve of the Manchester Test, assistant physio Yogesh Parmar, too, returned positive, causing more jitters within the visitors’ camp.. The match was eventually cancelled about three hours before the toss.
Reflecting on the way things unfolded before the start of the match, former Indian batsman VVS Laxman stated that looking at the circumstances in which the last Test was cancelled it is inappropriate to blame the visitors.
“It was an abrupt, somewhat disappointing end to what had been a cracking series but given the circumstances in which the final Test at Old Trafford was cancelled, it's unfair to point fingers or play the blame game,” Laxman wrote in his column for TOI.
The Kohli-led side is currently facing criticism too, having shown reluctance to take the field on Friday. Former England captains Micheal Atherton, David Gower and Michael Vaughan have voiced that the upcoming second leg of the IPL, beginning September 19, had a significant role to play in the entire sequence.
IPL teams chartering planes .. 6 days quarantining required in the UAE .. 7 days till the tournament starts !!!! Don’t tell me the Test was cancelled for any other reason but the IPL ..— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) September 11, 2021
Laxman however felt otherwise, and stated that once a team member is tested positive, it creates a chaotic situation in the camp.
"More than a year and a half since the pandemic, the world is still far from a safe place. It might be tempting for many to see the Indian team as the villain of the piece, but I can say from our IPL experiences this summer that once any member of the team that you have been in close contact with tests positive, it is impossible not to be apprehensive, indeed fearful,” Laxman explained.
With a 157-run victory in the fourth Test at The Oval, India took a 2-1 lead in the five-match Test series against England. There is still uncertainty over the result of the series, with the ECB having already written to the ICC to make a call on the same.
“To take the field in that mental state is far from ideal,” Laxman asserted. “So is the potential risk of endangering others on the park, be it your teammates, the officials, or the opponents. Against that backdrop, I think the cancellation of the Test was the right call, though I feel deeply for the fans who had invested so much time, money, and emotion in the contest. I hope the ICC sees the situation for what it is and awards the series 2-1 to India, particularly with the BCCI having offered to play a Test during their white-ball tour of England next year.”