Daily Mail

India chief Ganguly sends mixed message over scrapped fifth Test


SOURAV GANGULY made a baffling contributi­on yesterday in the debate about the rescheduli­ng of the scrubbed fifth Test between England and India at Old Trafford. He first championed a stand-alone match but later insisted it should be retained as the final rubber of the 2021 series. Ganguly, president of the Indian board (BCCI), had been quoted in the press in his home city of Kolkata saying any match should be a one-off but later contradict­ed himself. ‘We want the series to be completed as this will be our first series win (in England) since 2007,’ Ganguly said. ‘The BCCI maintains that Test cricket is the ultimate format and we won’t compromise it. ‘We are ready to play extra ODIs and T20s and that’s not an issue. Just the Test that will be played later will be the fifth match of the series.’ Despite Ganguly’s comments suggesting multiple matches as compensati­on for India’s players withdrawin­g their services on the eve of play last Friday, Sportsmail understand­s the BCCI’s offer, made by secretary Jay Shah to ECB chief executive Tom Harrison, is for the Test or two extra Twenty20 internatio­nals to be squeezed into their 2022 tour schedule, but not both. England’s next Test action is at the Ashes in December and Australia captain Tim Paine hopes to be fit in time, despite having surgery on a pinched nerve in his neck. Paine, 37 on the first day of the series in Brisbane, was suffering pain in his neck and left arm due to a bulging disc. ‘I expect to restart physical activity by the end of this month,’ said Paine. ‘I will be ready by the first Test.’

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