Jos Buttler has 'fingers crossed' that Test will go ahead despite new India Covid scare

Tourists cancel their final training session and media commitments at Old Trafford amid reports of new positive coronavirus case

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England wicketkeeper Jos Buttler said they are expecting the fifth and final Test against India at Old Trafford to go ahead, despite the tourists' latest Covid scare.

India cancelled their final training session before the clash in Manchester amid reports that another member of their support staff had tested positive for Covid-19.

Head coach Ravi Shastri, bowling coach Bharat Arun and fielding coach Ramakrishnan Sridhar have already been ruled out of attending the series finale following positive tests for Covid-19.

India beat England by 157 runs in the fourth Test on Monday - a result that left the tourists 2-1 up with one match to play. Indian media were reporting that the latest positive was in close contact with the players at The Oval.

According to news agency PTI, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chairman Sourav Ganguly, speaking at a book launch in Kolkata, said: “We don't know if the match will happen at the moment. Hopefully we can get some game.”

Buttler, though, remained optimistic that the series finale would not be disrupted. “At present we’re fully expecting the game to go ahead and we’re preparing to play tomorrow. Fingers crossed the game will go ahead,” said the England vice-captain.

“We don’t know too much to be honest. It would be naive to speculate too much on stuff I don’t know about. Things are all fine in our camp. We trained well this morning so, yeah, we’re hopefully all looking forward to the game again tomorrow.”

The India contingent, as well as a handful of England players including the likes of Jonny Bairstow, Moeen Ali, Chris Woakes and Sam Curran, are set to depart for the Indian Premier League following the completion of the Test match.

The tournament, which was suspended earlier in the year due to the pandemic, is due to resume in the UAE from September 19.

Assuming the drama comes to nothing and play does get under way on Friday morning, England are poised to make a late call on the make-up of their bowling attack.

New-ball pairing James Anderson and Ollie Robinson have been carefully assessed after playing all four matches and sending down more than 160 overs apiece. England would prefer to have both in the XI, but will heed any red flags from their 39-year-old record wicket-taker and their find of the summer.

“They’ve bowled fantastically well throughout the series and have been taking the opportunity to rest for a few days since the last game. They seem to be pulling up well,” said Buttler.

“Jimmy is an incredibly fit guy who looks after himself and Ollie is exactly the same. Fingers crossed they will be in good shape and available for selection.”

Updated: September 09, 2021, 3:43 PM