The last couple of days has seen questions being raised on whether the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has requested the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to reschedule the five-match Test series between the two countries to help find space to complete the remaining half of the Indian Premier League.
Both the boards have made it clear there hasn't been any such 'official' communication. Speaking to ANI, an ECB spokesperson confirmed that while the two boards have been in constant touch on a wide range of issues, there has been no official request to change the dates of the Test series.
"We talk to the BCCI on a regular basis about a wide range of issues especially as we address the challenges of Covid-19, but have had no official request to change dates and are continuing to plan for the five Test series as is scheduled," the spokesperson said.
A BCCI official said it came as quite a surprise to think that the Indian board would want to reschedule a Test series at such a stage -- the first game starts on August 4. "I am a little surprised to be honest. While it is okay to have talks on certain matters, but one needs to be respectful of the time and situation. You cannot send a request for a re-schedule at almost the 11th hour. While it is true that the IPL is an important part of Indian cricket and we will wish that the remaining games can be played out this season, we also have immense respect for the ECB and our international commitments," the official told ANI.
There have been reports that the BCCI wanted the last game of the series to be done away with or to start the Test series early as the Indians finish playing the World Test Championship final on June 22 and the opening game of the India-England Test series commences only on August 4. But both the ECB and the BCCI have now made it clear that the series will go ahead as planned with the final game being played in Manchester from September 10 to 14.
The Indian players are currently in quarantine in Mumbai as they gear up for the UK tour which gets underway with the World Test Championship final against New Zealand from June 18 in Southampton. With an eye on the COVID-19 situation, the players undertook three RT-PCR tests before entering the bubble in Mumbai.
In fact, the BCCI organised charter planes for players to reach Mumbai to avoid any chances of catching the virus during travel. After the two-week quarantine in India, the players are set to undergo another 10-day quarantine in the UK. The second dose of COVID-19 vaccines for the Indian players will also be administered by the UK health department.