‘Remoted 5’ to fly with staff to Sydney

Melbourne, January 3

Amid reports that the Indian cricket team is unhappy at the prospect of re-entering strict quarantine for the fourth Test in Brisbane, it has been learnt that the entire squad, including five players who have been placed in isolation following fears they breached the Covid protocol, will travel to Sydney in one chartered flight.

Reports in the Australian media, citing sources within the touring party, said India’s players, many of whom have been in some form of quarantine or other for six months, would refuse to travel to Brisbane if they were going to be subjected to a hard lockdown. A spokesperson for the Indian team did not respond to a request for comment.

5 to Sydney

The five players who are in precautionary isolation — Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw — have not been barred from travelling with the team, even as a probe is on into the alleged bio-security protocol breach by them.

Cricket Australia is (CA) probing the matter jointly with the BCCI after a video of the players at an indoor restaurant was posted by a fan, identified as Navaldeep Singh, on Twitter. He had claimed that he was hugged by Pant, but later said there was no physical contact. As per the Covid protocol, the players can dine out but only in open spaces, maintaining social distancing norms with non-squad individuals. A BCCI official said the five players went indoors as it was raining.

“Had the gentleman (the fan) in question not lied about hugging a player (Pant) on social media, this mess wouldn’t have happened. The players had gone inside because it was drizzling,” the official said. “This guy, without permission, shot a video and then paid the bill which no one asked him to and after that for publicity put a screen grab of bill online.”

“…There is no restriction on these five players travelling with the team to Sydney. The entire team is flying tomorrow afternoon,” he added. The third Test begins in Sydney on January 7.

Manager’s role?

For BCCI, the man under the scanner is administrative manager Girish Dongre, who is supposed to make the players aware about the Covid-19 protocols. “There is a professional team of people who have to ensure that every rule is being followed and it was Dongre’s duty to ensure that players are told that they can’t get into an indoor area,” another BCCI official said. — Agencies, TNS

Brisbane Test on

The Australian media today claimed that the fourth Test in Brisbane was under threat as the visiting players are reluctant to travel there in view of stricter quarantine rules there. But it is learnt that the match, scheduled to start on January 15, is on as of now. The border restrictions between the state governments of New South Wales (where Sydney is) and Queensland (whose capital is Brisbane) are a problem. Queensland has closed its borders for people travelling from New South Wales due to the rising Covd-19 cases in Sydney and surrounding areas. However, there will be an exception made for the Test match and the players will be in a stricter bio-bubble, similar to the one in the IPL. The players might well be placed in a stricter bio-bubble from Sydney itself. As of now, BCCI has not taken a call on asking CA to shift the match from Brisbane to Sydney. “It’s a fluid situation. Let’s wait for a few days more,” a BCCI official said.

Follow rules, or don’t come: Queensland to Indian players

Brisbane: Following reports about Team India’s reluctance to play in Brisbane due to harsher bio-security protocols, members of the Queensland parliament stated that the visiting team should not enter the state if they don’t want to follow the state’s Covid protocols. “If the Indians don’t want to play by the rules, don’t come,” Queensland’s Health Shadow Minister Ros Bates said. Tim Mander, Queensland’s Shadow Sports Minister, said there’s no room for ignoring the protocols and that every individual would have to go through the same drill. “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,” Mander said. Agencies

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