The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has today (Friday) announced that Edgbaston will next year host the rescheduled fifth Test match between England and India that was cancelled at short notice last month at Emirates Old Trafford due to COVID-19 concerns among the tourists.
The match was called off when India was 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 (pictured) in Birmingham, following an agreement between the ECB and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Due to what the ECB described as “complexities in the schedule”, the fixture cannot be staged at Emirates Old Trafford owing to clashes with pre-planned events at the venue, which will leave insufficient time to prepare a Test pitch.
The Manchester stadium is next summer due to host three concerts featuring The Killers, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Foo Fighters on June 11, June 22 and June 25, respectively. Instead, Emirates Old Trafford will now host the second Test against South Africa next summer, starting on August 25. This match was previously due to take place at Edgbaston.
Given the rescheduling of the fifth Test, the Vitality IT20 Series and Royal London Series between England and India will now start six days later than originally planned. The IT20 series will begin on July 7 at Ageas Bowl in Southampton with Edgbaston and Trent Bridge, Nottingham hosting the second and third games of the series respectively on July 9-10.
The Royal London One Day Series starts on July 12 at the Kia Oval in London. Lord’s will host the second game of the series on July 14 and the series will wrap up at Emirates Old Trafford on Sunday July 17.
The ECB said ticket holders do not have to take any action as all tickets will remain valid for the equivalent rearranged matchday at their host venue. Host venues will communicate the new fixture details to ticket purchasers and the options available to them, including the timeframe for requesting a refund if they are not able to attend the new match day.
Tom Harrison, ECB chief executive, said: “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.
“I’m very grateful to all the venues involved for the cooperation they’ve shown in allowing us to reschedule this match. I’d also like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding to allow these changes to be possible.
“We would like to apologise again to fans for the disruption and disappointment of September events. We know it was a day that so many had planned long in advance.”
Jay Shah, honorary secretary of the BCCI, added: “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.
“The BCCI recognises and respects the traditional form of the game and is also mindful of its role and obligations towards fellow board members. In the last two months, both BCCI and the ECB have been engaged in discussions and our efforts were aimed at finding a suitable window.”
In the wake of last month’s events, Lancashire Cricket, which owns the 21,000-capacity Emirates Old Trafford, said all ticket and hospitality buyers that had purchased tickets for the match would be automatically refunded the full face value of their tickets or hospitality packages.
Following the decision by the BCCI, Lancashire chief executive Daniel Gidney had warned that he expected the financial damage of the cancelled Test to the club would be “over seven figures, multi-million pounds”.
In a statement today, Gidney said: “We are delighted to be hosting three international fixtures next year with a South Africa Test and ODI, as well as an India ODI in what promises to be our busiest year at Emirates Old Trafford since 2019 when we delivered six ICC Cricket World Cup games and the final Ashes Test.
“Hosting international cricket, and specifically Test matches at Emirates Old Trafford is part of our DNA and I’m thrilled for cricket supporters in the North West that we’re able to host a South Africa Test match in 2022 after the disappointment of the cancelled India fixture last summer.
“We know how important Test matches are to our loyal members and supporters and further information will be released in due course on priority windows and when tickets can be purchased.
“Despite the best efforts of all parties, and particularly the ECB and BCCI, we couldn’t make the scheduling work for the India Test match to be played at Emirates Old Trafford, but we are thrilled to now be hosting India in a ODI.
“I would like to thank Tom Harrison, the ECB, CSA and BCCI and also the team at Edgbaston, for their continued support and co-operation in what are very challenging circumstances.”