There was a joint release on this issue but the Indian board has not so far commented on the players’ conduct. Mirror also can confirm that no action is being planned against the players despite the local media reports of BCCI inaction.
In fact, the Indian camp is of the view that the matter is being blown out of proportion and it was a direct fallout of their win in Melbourne.
“There would not be such reports if India had not won the second Test,” a team insider told Mirror.
Actually, the Australian players flying alongside those five players is being seen as a moral victory by the Indian camp. It must, however, be mentioned that the journey together happened after all players came negative in the Covid tests.
A big development of the day was clarity over the fourth Test and it is certain to take place, as scheduled, at the Gabba. Mirror can confirm that the Indian team will travel to Brisbane to play the Test from January 15. The team management has also agreed to the health protocols after Cricket Australia (CA) acceded to the Indian demand that it will not insist that the players be confined to the rooms once they are out of the ground – for the match or practice. They can move around in both Sydney and Brisbane hotels.
The biggest news yet from Down Under is about the opening pair for the third Test, starting at the SCG on Thursday. Mirror has learnt that the batting line-up will have Rohit at the top of the order along with Shubman Gill. There will be no place for Mayank Agarwal.
Since Rohit joined the squad in Melbourne last week, there have been different views over his batting position with some experts suggesting that the newly-named Test vice-captain should bat in the middle order instead of exposing himself to the seaming new ball up-front.
It would have meant Gill and Agarwal opening and Hanuma Vihari making way for Rohit. Sunil Gavaskar had suggested that the team management should have Rohit open with Agarwal and Gill be pushed to the middle order. The former India captain’s thinking was that Agarwal is a quality player and does not deserve the axe. That would have kept Vihari out of the XI.
However, there is every chance that Agarwal, who has had scores of 17, 9, 0 and 5 in the four innings so far, will get the boot. Rohit has revived his flagging Test career after deciding to open in the longest format of the game in 2019 and he has had good success at the top. The team wants him there.
Rohit opening with Gill also means that Vihari will get to retain his position in the middle order. He has had scores of 16, 8 and 21 in the three innings he has batted in the series so far at No 5. They are not big numbers but he is keeping his place.
Who will be the replacement for injured Umesh Yadav will be decided after an inspection of the SCG pitch. The Indian team is scheduled to have a net session on Tuesday morning. India and Australia are 1-1 in the series with Tests in Sydney and Brisbane to be played.