India bowler Jasprit Bumrah has suggested that an aggressive batting approach was the cause of their eight-wicket defeat to New Zealand in the T20 World Cup.

After the pre-tournament favourites only posted 110-7 from their 20 overs, Bumrah and his fellow bowlers could not stop their opponents from easing to their target for the cost of just two wickets and with five and a half overs to spare.

Sunday's result is India's second loss in as many games and leaves their hopes of qualifying hanging by a thread.

It follows the 10-wicket hammering at the hands of rivals Pakistan in their opening game, and means that India will need to win well against Afghanistan, Scotland and Namibia, while hoping for favourable results from elsewhere.

Virat Kholi's team had no answer to the power of the Black Caps, and instead of the Indian captain, it was Bumrah who faced the post-match press conference.

When asked about the first innings, Bumrah said: "We wanted to get extra runs that could give us an advantage in the second innings. I think in that process we played a lot of attacking shots. That didn't come off today.

"I think that was the approach as a batting unit because in the second innings, batting does get easier. So we wanted to give that cushion to the bowlers. I think that was the thought process. I think in that thought process, there were a lot of attack issues."


Bumrah - who took the only two wickets in the New Zealand innings - was also asked about the scheduling of the tournament, with India's opener against Pakistan coming just nine days after the final of the Indian Premier League, and the requirement for players to be on the road for such long periods in bubbles.

"Absolutely. Sometimes you need a break. You miss your family sometimes," he added. "You've been on the road for six months. So all of that sometimes plays on the back of your mind.

"But when you're on the field, you don't think of all those things. You don't control a lot of things, how the scheduling goes on or what tournament is played when.

"So obviously staying in a bubble and staying away from your family for such a long period of time does play a role on the player's mind as well. But they also tried their best to make us feel comfortable.

"But this is the time which we're living in right now. It's a difficult time. There's a pandemic going on. So we try to adapt. But sometimes bubble fatigue, mental fatigue also creeps in, that you're doing the same thing again and again and again.

"So it is the way it is, and you can't control a lot of it here."

The 27-year-old made clear that he and his team-mates should not focus on the negatives, and urged calmness. 

"As a sportsman, you face a lot of days in cricket. Some days will be good and some days would be bad. What I try to do is not get very high when good days happen and not get very low when low days happen," Bumrah said.

"All of these things are always part and parcel of a cricketer's life. Try to stay in the moment, analyse what went wrong, what went well and try to move forward. That's the only way that you can move forward in this game."

New Zealand landed their first win at this year's T20 World Cup after defeating India by eight wickets in the Group 2 clash at the Dubai International Stadium.

Trent Boult took three wickets – taking his T20I career tally to 50 – as the Black Caps recorded a third straight victory over India at the tournament, having previously prevailed when they met in 2007 and 2016.

After Kane Williamson won the toss and elected to field, Boult dismissed Ishan Kishan (4), Hardik Pandya (23) and Shardul Thakur (0).

He also caught Virat Kohli for nine from Ish Sodhi’s delivery, as India posted a total of 110-7, which proved much too low.

Daryl Mitchell led New Zealand's charge with 49 from 35 balls, while Martin Guptill had a knock of 20 in his 100th T20I innings.

Captain Williamson coasted to 33 not out as the Black Caps secured a commanding victory with 5.3 overs to spare, condemning their opponents to a fourth successive T20I defeat outside India for the first time. India could still reach the semi-finals, but it will take a huge turnaround in fortunes after losing their opening two games.


Brilliant Boult reaches the half-century

The 32-year-old left-arm quick captured 3-20 during another impressive performance for the Black Caps.

Reaching 50 T20I wickets, Boult became the fifth New Zealand bowler to achieve the feat after Tim Southee, Sodhi, Mitchell Santner and Nathan McCullum.

Ton up for Guptill

The batsman chalked up his 100th innings in the short format for the Black Caps, but it was his exploits in the field that were more important here.

The 35-year-old took catches to remove Pandya, Thakur and Rohit Sharma.

Virat Kohli will not press the panic button after Pakistan defeated his India side in a 10-wicket thumping at the T20 World Cup.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins but Azam's side prevailed in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

Kohli's 57 – his 29th half-century in the format in which he is the leading run scorer in history (3,216) – guided India to 151-7.

However, India had lost all eight games defending 160 or lower and that trend continued Sunday.

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan combined for a 152-run opening stand, the highest opening partnership against India and the second-highest in the history of the competition, to see Pakistan to a maiden victory over India in the competition.

Yet despite conceding Pakistan outclassed his side, Kohli insisted India would not begin to worry in the early stages of the tournament.

"We did not execute the things that we wanted to but credit is certainly due – they outplayed us today," Kohli said at the post-match presentation.

"When you lose three early it's very difficult to come back, especially when you know the dew is coming. They were very professional with the bat as well. 

"Hitting through the line was not as easy in the first half as it seemed in the Pakistan innings, so when you know the conditions can change, you need 10-20 extra runs. 

"But some quality bowling from Pakistan didn't let us get off the blocks. We're certainly not a team that presses the panic button, it's the start of the tournament, not the end."

Meanwhile, Azam – who is the leading scorer in the last three years of T20I cricket with 1,241 runs – credited Shaheen Afridi's excellent opening bowling spell in which he managed 3-31, while also praising his opening partner Rizwan.

"We executed our plans well and the early wickets were very helpful," Azam said after Kohli had spoken. 

"Shaheen's wickets gave us a lot of confidence and the spinners dominated as well. The plan with Rizwan is always to keep it simple. We tried to get deep in the crease and from about the 8th over the dew came in and the ball came on nicely. 

"This is just the start, we have the confidence to build on now. It will remain match by match for us. 

"The pressure on us wasn't that much - we weren't thinking of the record against India at all. I only wanted to back all our players who've been preparing well. 

"When you play tournaments before a big World Cup, it helps and our players came in with a lot of confidence because of that."

Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan both scored half-centuries as Pakistan recorded their first ever T20 World Cup win over India with a 10-wicket triumph.

India had lost just one of their last eight T20I meetings with Pakistan while they had collected five successive T20 World Cup wins – the joint longest streak in the competition.

But Shaheen Afridi (3-31) gave his country early hope as he struck twice to remove both Rohit Sharma for a first-ball duck and KL Rahul (three), with Hasan Ali (2-44) dismissing Suryakumar Yadav (11) to leave India 36-3 at the end of the powerplay.

However, captain Virat Kohli (57) – who has scored the most runs in men's T20I history (3,216) - responded emphatically as he registered his 29th half-century in the format to lift his side to 151-7 at the end of their 20-over allocation.

Kohli's side had lost all eight T20Is in which they posted a first-innings total under 160 since 2018 and that trend looked set to continue as Azam (68 not out) and Rizwan (79 not out) enjoyed a century opening stand inside 13 overs.

The openers motored on as they managed the highest opening partnership ever against India, Azam taking 40 balls to reach his half-century and Rizwan taking one delivery more before the former sealed victory with 13 balls to spare in their first Super 12 Group 2 game.

India's openers struggle

Rohit, who has hit the second-most sixes in the history of the competition (133), offered India experience at the top of the order but his tournament got off to the worst start as he was removed lbw for a golden duck.

His opening partner, Rahul, did not last much longer as the Punjab Kings captain disappointed following warm-up scores of 51 and 39 after his blistering 98 not out in his final IPL 2021 game.

Magical Azam continues remarkable form

In the last three years, no one has scored more T20I runs than Azam's 1,241. Kohli is second on the list, with 1,050.

The Pakistan leader produced a captain's knock to see his side over the line in a famous victory, perfectly kick-starting their World Cup campaign as he smashed six fours and two maximums for his 68.

Virat Kohli says Hardik Pandya can make a big impact for India as a specialist batsman in the T20 World Cup as "you cannot create overnight" what the India all-rounder brings at number six.

Pandya continues to be troubled by a long-standing back injury but will be in the India side for their first match of the World Cup against fierce rivals Pakistan at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.

India captain Kohli is backing Pandya to deliver with the bat for the tournament favourites despite his lack of runs in the Indian Premier League.

Kohli said: "Honestly, I feel that Hardik presently with his physical condition is getting better in terms of being prepared to bowl at least two overs for us at a certain stage in this tournament.

"We strongly feel that we can make the most of the opportunity at hand until the time he starts bowling, we've considered a couple of other options to chip in for an over or two.

"So, we're not bothered about that at all. What he brings at that number six spot is something you cannot create overnight."

Pakistan have lost all five of their T20 World Cup matches against India - including the final in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2007.

Yet Babar Azam's side are on an 11-match T20 winning streak in the United Arab Emirates and the skipper says they can get the better of their biggest rivals in their Super 12 Group 2 opener.

Babar said: "We have forgotten what happened in the past and we are trying to focus on the future. We want to use our ability and confidence on the day of the match so that we can get a better result.

"Records are meant to be broken. The matches between Pakistan and India are always full of intensity so we need to perform well in all three departments of the game.

"The boys are excited to play the World Cup and we have a crucial match on Sunday. A winning impact is necessary and then we will go match by match."

England and India will complete their interrupted Test series in July 2022, but Old Trafford will not stage the fifth match between the teams.

Concern over a rising number of cases of COVID-19 in the India camp caused the match to be called off on September 10.

Rather than being staged at Lancashire's home ground, however, the fixture has been switched to be played at Edgbaston in Birmingham.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said in a statement: "The match, which was due to take place last month at Emirates Old Trafford, was called off when India were unable to field a team due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID-19 cases inside the camp.

"With India leading the series 2-1, the concluding fifth match will now take place from July 1, 2022, at Edgbaston, following an agreement between the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)."

The ECB cited "complexities in the schedule" that meant Old Trafford could not host the rescheduled match, pointing to "clashes with pre-planned events at the venue, which will leave insufficient time to prepare a Test pitch".

Those events have not been specified; however, rock band Foo Fighters are due to play a concert at the cricket stadium on June 25.

Old Trafford will still get a Test match next year, with the second match of England's series against South Africa being switched from Edgbaston to the Manchester venue, with that match due to start on August 25.

The start of the planned T20I and ODI series between England and India has been set back by six days due to the Test being planted in the diary, and the T20I games will get under way on July 7 at the Ageas Bowl.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said of the fixture shake-up: "We are very pleased that we have reached an agreement with BCCI to creating a fitting end to what has been a brilliant series so far."

BCCI honorary secretary Mr Jay Shah said: "I am delighted that the England-India Test series will now have its rightful conclusion. The four Test matches were riveting, and we needed a fitting finale."

Sri Lanka eased to a straightforward seven-wicket victory over Namibia in their opening match of the T20 World Cup on Monday.

Namibia were dismissed for just 96 runs after being put into bat first, and Sri Lanka ultimately eclipsed that total as early as the 14th over.

Maheesh Theekshana was a key part of the Sri Lanka attack, taking Stephan Baard on his first delivery, before also claiming the scalps of Zane Green and Jan Frylinck, ending the day at 3-25.

Craig Williams (29) was the only Namibian to get more than 20, though his haul was hardly emphatic given it came off 36 balls and included just two boundaries.

Sri Lanka's innings did not start particularly impressively given they were 26-3 after the first ball of the sixth over, but Avishka Fernando (30 not out) and Bhanuka Rajapaksa (42 not out) had a steadying impact as they got them over the line at 100-3.

The day's early Group A match saw Ireland win in similarly comprehensive fashion against the Netherlands, with the bowlers again having the decisive impact during a seven-wicket victory.

Curtis Campher (4-26) incredibly took all four of his wickets in succession to leave the Dutch in disarray, becoming only the third man after Lasith Malinga and Rashid Khan to achieve the feat in a T20I, while Mark Adair was even more efficient with figures of 3-9 in his four overs.

Like Campher, Adair's treble came in a row and right at the end as the Netherlands could only set a target of 106.

Paul Stirling (30 not out) kept things ticking over throughout with a professional – if unspectacular – knock, but Gareth Delany (44) top scored for the Irish. By the time he was eventually stopped by Pieter Seelaar's yorker, Ireland only needed another 12 runs.

Elsewhere, several of the tournament favourites were in action in warm-up matches. India beat England by seven wickets with six balls remaining partly down to swift 50s by KL Rahul and Ishan Kishan, while Australia's 159-7 saw them defeat New Zealand with one ball left.

South Africa enjoyed a comfortable 41-run win over Afghanistan and Pakistan defeated the West Indies by seven wickets in a little over 15 overs.

After a COVID-19 enforced postponement, the T20 World Cup will finally get underway on Sunday.

Initially scheduled to take place in Australia last year, and then India following the postponement, the competition will now take place in the United Arab Emirates and Oman.

A first round featuring eight teams, including debutants Namibia and Papua New Guinea as well as 2014 champions Sri Lanka (who have reached three T20 World Cup finals, more than any other side), gets the tournament up and running, with four teams progressing into the Super 12 stage.

The West Indies are aiming to defend their title, having edged out England in the 2016 edition. Eoin Morgan's team, who have the world's top T20 batsman in their ranks, are sure to be one of the main challengers for the Windies' crown.

Virat Kohli's India are among the favourites, while Pakistan will be hoping captain Babar Azam delivers. Australia and New Zealand (the most economic side when it came to bowling in 2016) cannot be discounted either, with South Africa also improving in recent years.

It promises to be a thrilling tournament and, with the help of Opta, Stats Perform looks at some of the key data points heading into the tournament.

 

Gayle on the record trail

The Windies have won two of the last three T20 World Cups, triumphing in 2016 and 2012 either side of Sri Lanka's success, and they remain the only team to have won the tournament on multiple occasions. Key to their sustained success has been Chris Gayle, who at 42, is still the face of the sport in the Caribbean.

He is just 80 runs away from becoming the second player to score 1,000 runs at the T20 World Cup. In fact, he needs only 97 runs to surpass Mahela Jayawardene's record tally of 1,016. Gayle already holds one competition record, for the number of sixes (60), while he averages 40 across 26 innings at the tournament, with a brilliant strike rate of 146.7.

New Zealand great Brendon McCullum (123) is the only player to have a higher T20 World Cup score than Gayle's 117, and you would not bet against the Windies talisman claiming that record either.

Gayle will have able support from the likes of Kieron Pollard (1,378 T20 runs), Dwayne Bravo (1,229) and Lendl Simmons (1,508), not to mention Nicholas Pooran.

Despite batting in the middle order, Pooran hit the second-highest number of sixes in this year's Caribbean Premier League (25). He also has form in the middle east, having struck 350 runs at a rate of 170 in the most recent edition of the Indian Premier League.

 

Malan and Livingstone to lead England

The Windies' first opponents in the Super 12 phase will be England, who will be out for revenge. They had a batting strike rate of 148 in 2016, the best of any team, but still fell short. Yet while the West Indies are now ninth in the ICC's T20I rankings, Morgan's men sit top of the pile.

Dawid Malan is the star batsman. He is ranked number one in the world in T20Is, with a rating of 841, way clear of second-placed Babar (819). Over 30 innings, he has amassed 1,123 runs at an average of 43.2 and a strike rate of 139.3.

Morgan, not shy of a big innings himself, is also able to call on Liam Livingstone, who has made a fantastic start to his T20I career. 

From seven innings, Livingstone has hit 206 runs with a strike rate of 167.5. His high score of 103 is the joint-highest in England's squad, level with Malan (103 not out).

As was the case at the 2019 World Cup, England's batting depth is exceptional, though they are shorn of Ben Stokes, who always seems to deliver when it matters most.

 

Kohli's last shot

Not too far behind Malan in the ICC's T20I batsman rankings is India star Kohli, who is stepping down as the captain in the shortest format of the game following the World Cup.

Winners of the inaugural T20 World Cup in 2007, India have only reached one other final, back in 2014. Kohli was named player of the tournament, top-scoring with 319 runs, and as he prepares to bow out as captain, he will be determined to cap off his tenure on a high.

No player has made more half-centuries in the competition than the 32-year-old (level with Gayle on nine), though Kohli is yet to log a century.

Kohli's hopes may well rest on the shoulders of Rohit Sharma. The opener debuted with an unbeaten half-century back in 2007 and has made 111 T20I appearances, behind only Shoaib Malik (116) and Mohammed Hafeez (113).

Only Martin Guptill (147) has struck more sixes than Sharma (133) in the format, while over the last five years, India have won every time the batsman has scored 50+ runs.

 

Captain fantastic

Shahid Afridi has taken the most wickets of any player in T20 World Cup history (39). Indeed, Bangladesh's Shakib Al Hasan has taken the most wickets at the tournament of any player set to participate in this edition (30), which shows the void Pakistan are having to fill following Afridi's retirement.

They do, however, possess a supreme batsman in the form of captain Babar. 

Since his T20I bow in 2016, Babar has tallied up 2,204 runs. His average of 46.9 puts him third on the all-time T20I list (20+ innings), behind Kohli (52.7) and his fellow opener Mohammad Rizwan (48.4), who provides another string to Pakistan's bow.

Babar, who has only managed one century to date (122 from 59 balls against South Africa earlier this year) was the fastest player to 2,000 T20I runs (52 innings) beating Kohli's previous best of 56, and an enticing encounter between the sub-continental rivals takes place on October 24.

Virat Kohli has announced he will step down as captain of Indian Premier League side Royal Challengers Bangalore after the 2021 season is finished.

After a coronavirus-enforced suspension, the IPL restarted on Sunday, with Chennai Super Kings taking on Mumbai Indians in the United Arab Emirates.

However, ahead of Bangalore's clash with Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday, Kohli confirmed he will soon be bringing his time as captain to an end.

Kohli's announcement comes just three days after he confirmed he will step down as India's T20I captain after the upcoming T20 World Cup.

The highest scorer in T20Is, Kohli revealed the news in a video shared to RCB's official Twitter account.

"To the whole RCB family, the fans, the amazing fans of Bangalore and to everyone who has been a supporter of RCB for so many years, I have an announcement to make," he said.

"Before the second leg of the tournament starts, to inform everyone that this is going to be my last leg in the IPL as captain of RCB.

"I've spoken to the management, it's something that has been on my mind for a while, as I recently announced stepping down from T20 captaincy as well to manage my workload, which has been immense over the past few years.

"I want to continue to be committed to the responsibilities fully, and I felt I needed the space to refresh, regroup and be absolutely clear in how I want to move forward."

However, Kohli – who was signed by RCB in 2008 and was made captain in 2013 – insisted he has no plans to cut his time with the franchise short, despite his step back from leadership duties.

"Also understanding that RCB is going to go through a transitional phase, with a big auction coming next year, I made it clear to the management that I can't think of me being at any other team than RCB," Kohli continued.

"That has been my commitment since day one. I will continue to be an RCB player until my last game in the IPL.

"It's been a great journey of joy, frustration, moments of happiness and sadness, and I just want to thank all of you for believing in me and supporting me, relentlessly and unconditionally.

"I will continue to be committed to playing for this franchise until the last day of IPL, for you guys, the fans, because of what you have done for me and made me feel over the past so many years. It has meant so much.

"So, thank you so much; this is just a little halt, it is not the end of the journey, the journey will continue and it will continue the same way that it has for so many years."

Kohli accumulated 198 runs across the first seven games of the 2021 IPL season. In total, he has played 199 matches in the competition, averaging 37.97 with a high score of 113.

Virat Kohli has announced that he will step down as captain of the India T20I team after the upcoming World Cup.

Batting star Kohli said he needed to cut down his workload to be at his most effective in future, as he heads towards his mid-thirties.

The highest scorer in international T20 cricket, Kohli said he would continue to play for the team but would hand over leadership responsibilities.

He will remain captain of the Test and ODI teams, and will hope to go out on a high note as skipper in the shortest format.

The Super 12 stage of the World Cup, which is where India begin their campaign, begins for Kohli's team with an October 24 clash against Pakistan in Dubai.

Kohli wrote in a note posted to social media on Thursday: "I have been fortunate enough to not only represent India but also lead the Indian cricket teams to my utmost capability.

"Understanding workload is a very important thing and considering my immense workload over the last 8-9 years playing all three formats and captaining regularly for the last 5-6 years, I feel I need to give myself space to be fully ready to lead the Indian team in Test and ODI cricket.

"I have given everything to the team during my time at T20 captain and I will continue to do so for the T20 team as a batsman moving forward.

"Of course, arriving at this decision took a lot of time. After a lot of contemplation and discussions with my close people, Ravi bhai [Ravi Shastri] and also Rohit [Sharma], who have been an essential part of the leadership group, I've decided to step down as the T20 captain after this T20 World Cup in Dubai in October.

"I have also spoken to the secretary Mr Jay Shah and the president of BCCI Mr Sourav Ganguly along with all the selectors about the same. I will continue to serve Indian cricket and the Indian team to the best of my ability."

Kohli has been captain of India in all formats since 2017, having taken over the limited-overs responsibilities from MS Dhoni.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is working with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to reschedule the fifth Test after it was called off due to coronavirus fears.

The final match in the series at Old Trafford, which India lead 2-1, was cancelled a little over two hours before the first day of action was due to begin at 11:00 BST as India felt they were unable to field a team.

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for COVID-19 during the fourth Test victory at The Oval and has been isolating along with backroom staff members Bharat Arun, R Sridhar and Nitin Patel.

Another member of the tourists' camp, reported to be a junior physio, was next to test positive on Thursday, forcing India to cancel their training session on the eve of the match 

Despite each member of the India squad returning negative PCR tests on Thursday, the decision was taken to call off the fifth Test to prevent the respiratory disease from further spreading.

In a statement published on Friday, the ECB initially said that India had forfeited the Test and the series was therefore drawn at 2-2, but they later clarified that was not the case.

The BCCI has now stated the call to cancel the contest was a joint decision and the governing body is working closely with the ECB to find a window to reschedule the final Test.

"The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) along with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have jointly decided to call off the fifth Test match scheduled at Manchester in India's tour of England 2021," the statement read.

"The BCCI and ECB held several rounds of discussion to find a way to play the Test match, however, the outbreak of Covid-19 in the Indian team contingent forced the decision of calling off the Old Trafford Test match.

"In lieu of the strong relationship between BCCI and ECB, the BCCI has offered to ECB a rescheduling of the cancelled Test match. Both the Boards will work towards finding a window to reschedule this Test match.

"The BCCI has always maintained that the safety and well-being of the players is of paramount importance and there will be no compromise on that aspect. 

"The BCCI would like to thank the ECB for their co-operation and understanding in these trying times. We would like to apologise to the fans for not being able to complete an enthralling series."

Any prospect of rescheduling the match during the current tour seems unlikely as the Indian Premier League resumes in the United Arab Emirates on September 19.

England are already due to host India next year across three T20Is and three ODIs, including a T20 fixture in Manchester on July 1.

The fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford has been called off due to fears of rising coronavirus cases in the tourists' camp.

The start of the final match in the series had been in doubt after India cancelled a practice session on Thursday as a result of a member of their support staff testing positive for COVID-19.

England had been hopeful of the contest, which was due to begin at 11:00BST on Friday, going ahead as planned.

But after talks between the England and Wales Cricket (ECB) board and their Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) counterparts, the match has been cancelled.

"Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled," an ECB statement read.

"Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.

"We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many."

The statement initially said India had forfeited the final Test and the series was drawn at 2-2, but that was later removed.

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for coronavirus ahead of last week's 157-run win at The Oval, which gave his side a 2-1 lead in the five-Test series, while bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel isolated as a precautionary measure.

The overall number of positive cases climbed this week after another backroom staff member, reported to be a junior physio, also contracted the respiratory disease.

The entire India squad returned negative PCR Tests on Thursday, though any hopes of rescheduling the match appear unlikely given the start of the Indian Premier League on September 19, four days after the England series was due to finish.

The fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford has been called off due to concerns over rising number of coronavirus cases in the tourists' camp.

The start of the final match in the series had been in doubt after India cancelled a practice session on Thursday as a result of a member of their support staff testing positive for COVID-19.

England had been hopeful of the contest, which was due to begin at 11:00BST on Friday, going ahead as planned.

But after talks between the England and Wales Cricket (ECB) board and their Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) counterparts, the match has been cancelled.

"Following ongoing conversations with the BCCI, the ECB can confirm that the fifth LV= Insurance Test between England and India men due to start today at Emirates Old Trafford, will be cancelled," an ECB statement read.

"Due to fears of a further increase in the number of COVID cases inside the camp, India are regrettably unable to field a team.

"We send our sincere apologies to fans and partners for this news, which we know will cause immense disappointment and inconvenience to many."

India head coach Ravi Shastri tested positive for coronavirus ahead of last week's 157-run win at The Oval, which gave his side a 2-1 lead in the five-Test series, while bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel isolated as a precautionary measure.

The overall number of positive cases climbed this week after another backroom staff member, reported to be a junior physio, also contracted the respiratory disease.

The entire India squad returned negative PCR Tests on Thursday, though it has been reported that some players raised concerns around leaving the United Kingdom ahead of the start of the Indian Premier League on September 19, four days after the England series was due to finish.

The fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford has been called off due to concerns over rising number of coronavirus cases in the tourists' camp.

The start of the final match in the series had been in doubt after India cancelled a practice session on Thursday as a result of a member of their support staff testing positive for COVID-19.

Jos Buttler said England have their "fingers crossed" that the fifth Test against India will go ahead at Old Trafford after the tourists were hit by a new COVID-19 case.

A member of India's support staff, reported by the Times of India to be a junior physio, has tested positive for coronavirus, and the team did not appear for a net session or hold a news conference on Thursday.

On the eve of the match, the last in a series in which India hold a 2-1 lead, it remained to be seen whether there could be an issue with it going ahead as scheduled.

India do not want to concede the match, yet this is the latest case in their camp, after head coach Ravi Shastri and two members of his staff also tested positive and were sidelined during the fourth Test at The Oval.

England wicketkeeper-batsman Buttler said: "At present we're fully expecting the game to go ahead. We're preparing to play tomorrow and fingers crossed the game will go ahead.

"Things are all fine in our camp and we trained well this morning so, hopefully, we're looking forward to the game tomorrow."

The Oval defeat for England came as India carved through the hosts' batting line-up on the final day, reducing them from 100-0 to 210 all out, earning a 157-run success.

"It was a fantastic Test match for the neutrals," said Buttler, who missed the game as his wife gave birth. "The team played some brilliant cricket for large parts of that game but couldn't quite get it done.

"As a group we're determined to win this Test match and level this series. Spirits are high and so it's one last big push this summer for a must-win game for us."

England have a proud Old Trafford record against India to defend, having never lost in the nine matches the teams have contested at the ground. England have four wins and five draws in their head-to-head, winning by an innings and 54 runs when the teams last played in Manchester, in August 2014.

An Old Trafford draw in 1990 featured the first Test century of Sachin Tendulkar's stellar career, the then 17-year-old making 119 not out in the fourth innings of the contest.

 

BUTTLER SEES ROOM FOR IMPROVEMENT

Buttler made a Test ton against India at Trent Bridge three years ago, and a return to that level of form would be welcome after a run of low scores, with 25 his highest across five Test innings in this series.

"I haven't played my best by a long stretch," Buttler said. "I think I've felt like that the whole season. It's on yourself as a player to put the work in, to train hard and make some runs.

"I've been working hard on that and that's the challenge of the game: can you do the work to give yourself the best chance to perform in the middle?"

For the Lancashire player, home advantage may help in the coming days.

ANDERSON COULD TAKE CENTRE STAGE

Another player relishing the chance to shine at his county ground will be James Anderson, England's evergreen paceman.

The 39-year-old has 15 wickets at an average of 24.66 so far in this series, and Buttler is confident Anderson and fellow quick Ollie Robinson will be raring to go after a heavy Oval workload.

"They've bowled a lot of overs and bowled fantastically well," said Buttler. "They've rightfully taken rest in the few days since the last game.

"But they seem to be pulling up well. Jimmy is a fantastically fit guy who looks after himself and Ollie's exactly the same. Fingers crossed they'll both be in good shape and available for selection."

Robinson has a series-high 21 wickets at 21.33, and his contribution could be important as England target a fourth straight win in Tests at Old Trafford. 

The last and only time they enjoyed a longer winning run at the venue was a four-match span from July 2006 to June 2010. England have not lost consecutive home Tests against India since June 1986, which was the first time that had occurred.

KEY OPTA FACTS

– India last won a Test series against England, in England, in 2007. To deny them, England will be chasing a win that would be their 50th in men's Tests against India. They have passed that landmark against three other Test teams previously: 110 wins against Australia, 64 against South Africa and 51 against West Indies.

– England have not lost back-to-back men's home Tests since July 2008, when South Africa were the opposition.

– India captain Virat Kohli is 40 away from becoming the fifth player to score 2,000 runs in men's Tests between England and India (Tendulkar – 2,535, Sunil Gavaskar – 2,483, Alastair Cook – 2,431 and Joe Root – 2,353); however, Kohli's Test batting average (43.6) against England is his second lowest against any country (43.3 v West Indies).

– England skipper Root (1,455 in 2021) is 27 away from recording the most runs in men's Tests by an England player in a calendar year (Michael Vaughan – 1,481 in 2002).

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