India vs Australia: Is BCCI rethinking playing at The Gabba after Queensland minister’s comment? – Report

Queensland’s Health Shadow Minister Ros Bates’ comments regarding quarantine guidelines for the fourth Test in Brisbane has not gone down too well with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) as the Indian board feels that the team’s image is shown in poor light.

Disappointed by the turn of events, the BCCI is rethinking if it should turn the four-Test series into a three-game contest and end the series with the Pink Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).

Speaking to ANI, a BCCI official in the know of developments over the last few days said that the comments from Bates was uncalled for and should have been avoided as the Indian board has looked to stand united with Cricket Australia and ensure that the tour goes ahead without any hurdles.

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The official said if a public representative does not want the team to go and play, that is hurtful. Pointing at Rohit Sharma undergoing a 14-day quarantine after landing in Sydney, the official said propagating a view that the Indian team does not wish to follow rules is sad.

“The statement made by the public representative portrays Indians in poor light and let me assure you, we do not want to do anything other than to abide by the rules, and Rohit Sharma’s strict quarantine is a case in point. To try and propagate a view that we don’t wish to follow the rules is unacceptable and the tone and tenor, in which it was said seemed rife with hostility and bordered on racism. It is, therefore, not a surprise that a rethink is on the cards.

“If a representative of the public does not want us there, it is hurtful and the last thing we want is to upset the Australian fans who have given us so much love and support over the years. We do not wish to make it difficult for them or for Cricket Australia,” the official said.

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With questions raised on whether the Indian team would be willing to follow strict quarantine protocols for the final Test of the series at The Gabba, Bates said: “If the Indians don’t want to play by the rules, don’t come.”

She had put out the statement on social media as well and her sentiments were echoed by Queensland’s Shadow Sports Minister Tim Mander.

“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,” Mander said, as reported by Fox Sports.

“The same rules must apply for everyone. Simple,” he added.

Cricket Australia’s Interim Chief Executive Officer, Nick Hockley on Monday clarified that India has not said anything formally regarding the fourth Test match at Brisbane and as of now, the series will go ahead as planned.

“We’ve had nothing formal from the BCCI to suggest anything other than they are supportive. We speak to our counterparts in the BCCI daily and we have clarified in the last 24 hours what the precise requirements are in Brisbane,” quoted Hockley as saying.

“There has been some reporting that players will be confined to their rooms — that’s not the case. Typically for a Test match, players arrive at the ground between 8 am and 9 am and they are there until 6 or 7 pm at night, and then it’s back to the hotel to rest and recuperate and they will be able to mix within their groups. So everyone’s fully across that, and supportive,” he added.

Earlier, Team India players rounded off what was one of the toughest weekends for them on Australian soil on this tour by testing negative for the coronavirus with results coming in on Monday morning.

In the midst of unwanted media scrutiny after five India players — Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill and Navdeep Saini — had gone to a restaurant in Melbourne, they have shown that all necessary protocols were followed.

“Playing members of the Indian Cricket Team and support staff underwent an RT-PCR Test for Covid-19 on January 3, 2021. All tests have returned negative results,” the BCCI said.

The third Test between India and Australia will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground, starting from January 7.

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