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Sourav Ganguly says India players cannot be blamed for refusing to play final Test against England

Sourav Ganguly says India's players were "dead scared" of contracting Covid-19 after physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive; fifth Test at Emirates Old Trafford was cancelled on the morning it was due to begin

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ECB chief executive Tom Harrison says rescheduling a one-off Test match between England and India at Emirates Old Trafford would be 'the only good news' to come from the cancellation of this summer's fifth Test

BCCI president Sourav Ganguly says India's players should not be blamed for refusing to play the fifth Test against England, insisting that their physio's positive Covid-19 diagnosis left them "dead scared" they would contract the virus themselves.

The game at Emirates Old Trafford was cancelled on Friday morning, hours before it was due to begin, with a number of members of India's backroom staff having tested positive for coronavirus, including physios Nitin Patel and Yogesh Parmar.

India - who led the five-match series 2-1 after winning the fourth Test at The Kia Oval by 157 runs last Monday - were unable to field a side in Manchester.

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Indian journalist Rica Roy says the country's cricket fans are 'extremely disappointed' that the fifth Test against England was called off

Ganguly told Indian newspaper The Telegraph: "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 gave them a massage, he was part of their everyday lives.

"The players were devastated when they came to know he had tested positive. 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."

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Lancashire chief-executive Daniel Gidney explains the financial implications caused by the cancellation

India's players are now set to feature in the rescheduled Indian Premier League, which resumes in the United Arab Emirates this weekend having been suspended earlier in the year due to a rising number of positive Covid cases among the players.

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Tom Harrison says the ECB has been working with players on their match schedules to ease the pressure on both their physical and mental health

ECB chief-executive Tom Harrison has denied that the Old Trafford Test was cancelled so that the IPL was not put in jeopardy, saying on Friday: "Let me be super clear, I don't think the IPL has anything to do with this.

"This is not a situation which has been created by the rescheduled IPL, I fundamentally do not believe that for a second. This Indian cricket team are as passionate about Test cricket as fans in our country are."

Watch the IPL live on Sky Sports Cricket between September 19 and October 15.

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