The Gabba is at risk of losing the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) reportedly expressed their reluctance to travel to Brisbane.
Both squads are currently in Melbourne, and are expected to travel to Sydney for the New Year’s Test on Monday.
The fourth Test is scheduled to take place at the Gabba from January 15, but the BCCI has reportedly voiced their displeasure about Queensland’s strict quarantine proposals.
Watch Australia v India Test Series Live & Ad-Break Free During Play with the Fox Cricket commentary team. New to Kayo? Get your free trial now & start streaming instantly >
Queensland shut its border to New South Wales after a recent surge in COVID-19 cases on Sydney’s northern beaches, understandably causing headaches for Cricket Australia.
However, the two national squads along with some broadcasters have received exemptions to travel into Brisbane on a chartered flight.
As reported by The Australian’s Peter Lalor, the BCCI does not want to travel to Brisbane if the mentally exhausted players will be confined to rooms in a hard lockdown.
“That means we were in a hard bubble for nearly a month before coming out. What we don’t want now is to quarantine again at the end of the tour.”
However, Queensland opposition health spokeswoman Ros Bates delivered a blunt message to the tourists on Sunday: “If the Indians do not want to play by the rules, don’t come.”
Queensland’s Shadow Sports Minister Tim Mander echoed those remarks: “If the Indian cricket team wants to spit the dummy and disregard quarantine guidelines in Brisbane for the fourth Test, then they shouldn’t come.
“The same rules must apply for everyone. Simple.”
Australia’s players have reportedly been informed that they will be restricted to their hotel rooms when not training or playing in Brisbane.
According to Lalor’s report, the SCG will host two Test matches unless the Queensland government grant an exemption or the BCCI back down from their demands.
It’s no secret the BCCI is immensely influential in the cricket world, meaning Brisbane is in serious danger of losing the fourth Test.
India has never won a Test match at the Gabba, while Australia has not lost at the venue since 1988.
“The schedule has been rolled out and we prefer to stick to that,” Australian batsman Matthew Wade told reporters on Sunday afternoon.
“There was speculation about staying in Melbourne, but we prefer to stick to the schedule rolled out at the start of the summer, so I would expect to go to the Gabba regardless.
“If it went two games back-to-back at the SCG, it would obviously not be something that we would want to do … there’s no secrets we love the Gabba and we want to get there”
Meanwhile, the New Year’s Test at the SCG is also in jeopardy after New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian restricted outdoor gatherings to 2000 people on Saturday.
However, Ms Berejiklian emphasised the SCG rules remain in place for the time being, and any changes to the 50 per cent capacity limit would be decided following a safety review of the venue.
Speaking to reporters on Sunday, NSW Deputy Premier John Barilaro said the state would be prepared to host the fourth Test if required.
However, it would be difficult for the SCG curators to prepare another pitch with only four days separating the final two Tests.
“If we’re going to put on an alternative Test because of what’s happened to the breaches, that’s up to the Queensland Government,” Mr Barilaro said.
“That bubble is to protect the players and community … if those breaches have impacted the conditions that the Queensland Government have applied for the Indian cricket team or both cricket teams, that’s something for the Queensland Government to make a decision about that.”
On Saturday, CA released a statement saying it was investigating as potential COVID-19 biosecurity protocols from the Indian cricket team.
Cricket tragic Navaldeep Singh spotted Indian squad members Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini were seen dining in a restaurant on Friday afternoon.
CA’s strict biosecurity guidelines dictate players should only dine in public outdoors, but the Indian quintet is seemingly indoors without masks.
“The BCCI and CA are investigating the matter and seeking to determine whether the outing constitutes a breach of biosecurity protocols,” the statement read.
“In the interim, on the advice of the Australian and Indian medical teams, the aforementioned players have been placed in isolation as a precaution.”