We don’t want a standalone Test match but rather the decider of series, says Ganguly

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BCCI president and former Indian cricketer, Saurav Ganguly said that India doesn’t want the postponed fifth Test match to be standalone but to be played as a series decider.

The fifth Test match of the India, England series that was cancelled last week following a Covid outbreak in the Indian camp, must be played as a series decider and there is no possibility of the Test being played as a ‘standalone’ match, BCCI president Saurav Ganguly confirmed on Monday.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has written a letter to ICC to set a Dispute Resolution Committee (DRS) on the fate of the cancelled Test match that was to be played at Old Trafford, Manchester.

The ICC is yet to take notice regarding this matter.

“We want the series to be completed as this will be our first series win (in England) since 2007,”

Ganguly told PTI in an exclusive interview. 

“The BCCI maintains that Test cricket is the ultimate format and we won’t compromise it for anything,”

Ganguly said.

India was leading by 2-1 in the five-match Test series before the players refused to went on the field following an outbreak in the Indian supporting camp including the Head Coach, Ravi Shastri and ultimately the match was called off.

This cancellation of the series decider will allow ECB to get a compensation loss of 40 million pounds that it claims would help in covering their loss.

A journalist asked whether BCCI has offered to play two extra T20I’s when the team will tour in July for the white-ball series. Ganguly replied:

“We are ready to play extra ODI and T20Is and that’s not an issue.”

“Just that the Test match that will be played later will be the fifth match of the series.”

If the ICC confirms that the Test match was cancelled following Covid protocols, then India will win the series officially by 2-1 and the cancellation will not come under World Test Championship rules.

“There is the precedence of series being cancelled because of COVID-19 in the past 18 months. The BCCI cancelled its home series against South Africa last year which cost us around 40 to 50 million pounds,”

the former captain said.

He also hoped that in the future there will be concrete medical advice that will allow the series to go on even the Covid-19 cases within the team. 

“Because we understand how detrimental it is to the game in terms of spectators and viewers’ interest (TV and OTT) especially when the series has been of such high quality. Test cricket is BCCI’s foremost priority,”

he explained.

Ganguly said that BCCI is disappointed that the match was, unfortunately, called off but they would not go far to push the players beyond a certain point.

“We are extremely disappointed that this series had to be called off. The only reason is the COVID-19 outbreak and players’ safety. We could only push them to a point. “But the pandemic is so severe that one can only go that much distance,”

he said.

Ganguly negated the point when asked that some of the senior players who were worried should be rested and some young and fresh players should be given the chance.

“No that wasn’t an option. If you see the Yogesh Parmar (the junior physio who tested positive just before the match) was a close contact of every player,”

Ganguly said. 

“So obviously that was a cause of worry. It was something nobody had any control on and they (the players) had families traveling with them,”

he added, justifying the anxiety in the camp.

ECB CEO, Tom Harrison said that every effort was made to comfort the hosts but did not get ready to play as a fear of what might happen.

“Even the Test match was called off amicably. I am going there and let’s see, we will figure out something,”

Ganguly signed off.

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