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On the eve of the fifth Test, India’s training session was cancelled and the players were asked to stay in their hotel rooms

In a development that could have a major impact on the fifth and final Test of India’s tour of England, one more member of India’s support staff – assistant physiotherapist Yogesh Parmar – has tested positive for Covid-19. The Indian team’s training session the day before the start of the Test in Manchester had to be cancelled as a result. ESPNcricinfo understands that the Indian squad members were asked to stay back in their hotel rooms till further notice.

The Indian contingent had a meeting on Thursday morning with the BCCI, which will now liaise with the ECB on the next course of action. “We don’t know if the match will happen at the moment,” board president Sourav Ganguly was quoted as saying by PTI from a book launch in Kolkata. “Hopefully we can get some game.”

Meanwhile, India’s scheduled pre-match press conference stands cancelled. It was scheduled for 3pm UK time (7.30pm IST), and was meant to be addressed by either Virat Kohli or batting coach Vikram Rathour, who is the caretaker coach in the absence of Ravi Shastri and Bharat Arun.*

The uncertainty around the Old Trafford Test has hit the England camp as well with Jos Buttler saying, “we don’t know too much about it at the moment. It would be naive to speculate on what’s going on. At the moment we’re fully expecting the game to go ahead and we’re preparing that way so fingers crossed the game will go ahead.”

It has been learnt that Parmar’s positive result came after a fresh round of testing on Wednesday evening; the team had trained as scheduled on Wednesday morning. It is understood that Parmar experienced Covid symptoms on Wednesday after returning from training and took the test. The concerning issue for the Indian team is that Parmar has been testing several players suffering various niggles including Rohit Sharma (knee), Cheteshwar Pujara (ankle) and Ravindra Jadeja (knee), as well as the pair of Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma who missed the fourth Test. Parmar, who is the second physiotherapist in the Indian medical team, had to take charge midway through the fourth Test after lead physio Nitin Patel was identified as a close contact of Shastri, who tested positive for Covid-19 on the fourth day of the Test.

The entire Indian squad has since undergone another round of testing on Thursday morning. The results of these tests are awaited.

In case anyone among the playing group tests positive, it could even affect the resumption of IPL 2021, which starts in the UAE on September 19, just five days after the scheduled end of the tour of England. The Indian players will fly out from Manchester to Dubai on September 15 according to the original travel plan.

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