The fifth Test between England and India scheduled to start from Friday at the Old Trafford Cricket Ground was canceled due to fears of a further increase in a number of COVID-19 cases in the Indian camp.
"Tremendously disappointing for all the cricket fans. It has been an incredible series. India is a fantastic team. They have given England a real run for their money in their home conditions. Everybody was wondering to see how this one was going to pan out," said Butcher to Sky Sports.
He wondered whether the second Ieg of IPL 2021 had a role to play. "There are also other factors I suppose to think of. People would be talking about the fact that the IPL restarts in the UAE on the 19th and any sort of further postponement to the Test match would push the Indian players and English players that are involved in it beyond the start of the competition.
"Also, should any of the Indian players who are in the side sort of then test positive in the meantime, don't forget Ravi Shastri the Indian coach, and some of the backroom staff were tested positive during The Oval Test match. I believe the team physio has gone down in the last day or so. Then they would have to quarantine for further 10 days in the UK before leaving. There are all kinds of factors that play at the moment. The overriding thought for me is that it is an absolute shame that this series is not gonna play out the way it was meant to," added Butcher.
The 49-year-old had some sympathy for the touring Indian party, who has been in England since June. "There is a little bit of sympathy in me in terms of the Indian players, most of them who have been on the road since before the start of the Australia series over Christmas and New Year. Yes, they were at home to play the series against England in February, but they were in very very strict bubbles then. They have been in the UK since the World Test Championship final against New Zealand back in June-July.
"I can imagine some of the players locked up in their rooms have had an absolute gutful and just wanna get out. However, that does not gonna sort of dim any of the disappointment for the fans and the amount of money involved in putting these Test matches on. So, it's a real shame, a real shame," signed off Butcher.