Former England captain and leading commentator Nasser Hussain called the abandonment of the fifth Test between India and England a ‘mess’ but he understood the various concerns behind that.
It maybe recalled that during the Oval test the team coach Ravi Shastri, the bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach R Sridhar was covid infected and had to be isolated. Also, the head physio Nitin Menon was isolated as a precaution.
Later after the Oval test, the junior physio Yogesh Parmar who was in close contact with most of the players was covid positive and had to be isolated. This incident caused a lot of fear amongst the players who had been treated by Yogesh as the nature of physiotherapy needs close proximity between individuals.
Hence Nasser Hussain clearly understands the logic to the Indian players to refuse to play in the test as they feared and during the match, if cases come up then it will be difficult for the team ( though ICC have kept a provision for covid subs alike concussed subs ).
However, when asked by the fellow commentator , Nasser Hussain did mention that the IPL 2021 which is scheduled to start on 19 September, had a moderate impact on the decision to call off the 5th test as it was not possible for the BCCI to wait for too many days before starting the 5th test. He felt that the players would not want to risk their participation in the tournament which was already impacted by Covid-19 earlier this year.
Hussain said that initially, the BCCI was always very concerned about this Test match. They wanted everything moved to make sure the IPL ‘s second phase happened on time. There was also a thought of moving the 5th test before the 1st test but ECB avoided it due to the hundred event.
However, Hussain signed off by saying that it was about players who are thinking: ‘If I get down positive here now, today, I have to do another 10 days’.