India skipper Virat Kohli sent letters to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) the night before the fifth and final Test at Manchester, former England captain David Gower has claimed. In an interview with cricket.com, Gower said the events that led up to the cancellation of the series finale, following an outbreak of COVID-19 in the Indian camp, need better explanation.  

“Wow! No one, least of all I, saw that coming. It leads us into unprecedented territories,” he told the portal. “I mean I know other matches have been abandoned. Sometimes a few balls bowled and various other circumstances but to have the thing called off at the last moment - Virat Kohli sending letters to the BCCI at midnight, the day before - the whole sequence of events needs explaining a little bit better.”

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It was speculated after the cancellation of the Test match, which has reportedly led to substantial monetary losses for the ECB and left a bad taste among many Englishmen and other fans, that the imminent resumption of the Indian Premier League (IPL) was behind the abrupt decision.

“The worrying thing for me is this: If the IPL was so very closely linked to this, then that to me is very disappointing because. I mean sound old, crusty, but for all those people like me and dare I say, Virat... the last time he was in England, he made a big point about how important Test match cricket is to him,” Gower, who played 117 Test matches and 114 ODIs for England from 1978 to 1992, said.

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Meanwhile, BCCI chief Sourav Ganguly has dismissed rumors that the IPL was behind the cancellation of the fifth Test. “The BCCI will never be an irresponsible board,” he said recently.

The former Indian captain said that the visiting players were afraid of contracting COVID after physio Yogesh Parmar tested positive, something he said that left them “devastated”.