Bearing in mind Parmar has been treating players and has been constantly in touch with them, an air of fear has engulfed the Team India hotel. Thursday’s practice was also cancelled even before the players could leave the team hotel.
Right now, the BCCI and the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are in the middle of a series of meetings to take a call on whether this series should continue.
The pressures in ensuring that players remain safe don’t just limit to this fifth Test. Immediately after the Test match, the same set of players are scheduled to fly to the UAE to play Phase-2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL), followed by the ICC T20 World Cup.
Franchises have been camping in the UAE for close to three weeks now and have built their own secure bio-bubbles where these players – arriving from the UK, including the Indian contingent and overseas players from the rest of the world – were scheduled to join.
However, with Covid cases sprouting in the Indian camp, the BCCI and ECB must take an immediate call on whether they would want this series to continue and for the risk factor to fester or conclude this series right away and focus on the IPL, followed by the World Cup, that has a lot of moolah riding on it.
“The way we see it, there’s no choice but to call off the series. But all stakeholders must be on board with this decision. It’s got to be a collective decision. So, until everybody is on the same page, we can’t really say much,” top sources tracking developments told TOI.
As far as the spread of Covid is concerned, the overlying fear is the fact that individuals tend to turn positive mostly after 72 to 96 hours after they’ve contracted the virus.
“So, immediate testing may not mean anything. The only way is to put the players in quarantine and test them daily over the next one week,” sources add.
The BCCI will have to take a call on whether it intends to safeguard the interests of its premier domestic tournament – the IPL – given that should these Covid cases rise in numbers, overseas players who’ve been busy making up their minds to travel to the UAE to play in the IPL will once again back out.
“See, for all practical purposes, this has been a long series. Four matches have been played. Let’s call it an end here, instead of risking everything else,” say those in the know.