India "dead scared" over Covid outbreak which led to England Test cancellation

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly has confirmed that India 's players "refused to play" the fifth Test against England at Old Trafford, explaining that they were "dead scared" about the coronavirus outbreak within their camp.

Head coach Ravi Shastri was the first member of staff to test positive for the virus during the fourth Test at The Oval.

Three members of his backroom staff were deemed to be close contacts and also subjected to a period of isolation, with two of those also testing positive for Covid.

Then, on the eve of the fifth Test, assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar returned a positive test, sparking a series of events which led to the game getting cancelled.

Speaking to Indian outlet Telegraph, Ganguly explained: "The players refused to play but you can't blame them. Physio Yogesh Parmar was such a close contact of the players.

Being the only one available after Nitin Patel isolated himself, he mixed freely with the players and even performed their Covid-19 tests. He also used to give them a massage, he was part of their everyday lives.

"The players were devastated when they came to know that he had tested positive for Covid-19.

"They feared they must have contracted the disease and were dead scared. It's not easy staying in a bubble. Of course, you have to respect their feelings."

Ganguly also spoke about how difficult bubble life is for players, adding: "How long can you stay confined to your hotel rooms? Can you stay locked at your home day in and day out?

"You can't be restricted to a life where you go from the hotel to the ground and return to the hotel. This is humanly not possible.

"You can't stay in a bubble forever. Life has to open up. These players and support staff have been in a bubble for more than a year now.

"It's no joke. It's very demanding physically and mentally. They are human beings and it's unfortunate. From the UK, the players are already in another bubble in the UAE [for the IPL].

"Another round of quarantine, another bubble.… Then there will be the bubble for the T20 World Cup. It's not easy."

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