SYDNEY, January 8
Brisbane will go into three days of strict lockdown from today as the government tries to contain a more contagious variant of Covid-19, raising more doubts about the Gabba hosting next week’s fourth cricket Test between Australia and India.
The city’s two million residents will be barred from leaving their homes for anything but essential business after a worker at a quarantine hotel in the city tested positive for the new strain of the virus first detected in Britain.
Australia would like to play at the Gabba, says Smith
Sydney: Australia “would like to play” the fourth and final Test against India in Brisbane, batting mainstay Steve Smith said today even as Queensland entered into a three-day coronavirus-forced lockdown. Smith said nothing changes for them as players. “To my knowledge, not anything is changed from our point of view, we will wait and see and that is not our decision to make, we are the players and we go where we are told and do what we need to do, but we would like to play at the Gabba for sure,” Smith said. PTI
The news will do little to ease widely reported concerns in the Indian touring party over what level of isolation they will be forced into when they leave Sydney for Queensland on Tuesday.
The Board of Control for Cricket India (BCCI) has made no comment on the Brisbane lockdown but retired batting great Sunil Gavaskar today articulated the concerns of the team during TV commentary.
“In Sydney, there are people coming to the ground and then going back and having dinner at a restaurant or having a gathering of 20, 30 people in a pub,” he said on Channel Seven.
“What they (the team) are saying is they should also be allowed to do something similar. The Queensland government is fully entitled to protect its people. Similarly I believe the BCCI is fully entitled to protect its team. I think that’s something we should never forget.”
Queensland’s state Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has already assured the Indian players that they will be able to mingle with each other inside the team hotel, as they have been in Sydney.
“Still talking,” was her only comment on the Test during her news conference on the lockdown today.
Meanwhile, three Big Bash League matches originally scheduled to be played in Sydney have been moved to Canberra due to state border closures after an outbreak of Covid-19 in Australia’s biggest city.
Victoria has closed its border with New South Wales because of the outbreak, meaning the players would not be able to play in Sydney and then move on to play the following round of matches in Melbourne. — Reuters