MUMBAI: If Cricket Australia (CA) really intends to allow the visiting Indian team the same privileges as citizens of Australia, then it must provide the same in a written clarification to the Indian cricket board (BCCI) at the earliest, ensuring that Ajinkya Rahane and Co. do not undergo any kind of “isolation” whatsoever for the entire duration in Brisbane.
This is going to be the Indian cricket board’s communication to its Australian counterpart this week as debate continues on whether the fourth Test is “feasible” at the Gabba.
When the team first landed in Australia, it was asked to undergo a rigorous 14-day quarantine, a rule that was in place for Rohit Sharma too when he landed there last month. It was CA’s own commitment, prior to India flying there, that post the initial 14-day quarantine, the Indian team would not be subjected to any such isolation again.
“Now, if it’s between the mayors of Queensland or the monarchs, it’s not India’s headache. If Brisbane has rules that require the team to undergo any sort of quarantine once again, then the fourth Test has to either be held in Sydney or curtail this into a three-Test series and let the Indian team leave,” highly placed sources in the cricket establishment told TOI.
Essentially, what BCCI and Team India expect CA to do is allow them the same privileges that are being extended to anyone else in Australia, and not make them come across as “caged pigeons” who have been invited to “perform and entertain”. The Indian team – already crippled by injuries – is petrified at the thought of another isolation. Queensland authorities expect the players to be “holed up” in their hotel rooms and floors during their stay in Brisbane.
“And fans are allowed? Locals are fine to do whatever they like? Then why doesn’t the team stay back in Sydney, where no such rules are applicable,” say those tracking developments.
This tour has brought about a major windfall for CA, which was in financial doldrums. “An India vs Australia series is a seller – but that shouldn’t come at the cost of making the Indians feel like they’re being done a favour. The comment from Queensland’s minister (for health and ambulance services) Ross Bates was unwarranted and rude,” sources added.
“If the Indians don’t want to play by the rules, don’t come,” Bates was quoted as saying.
Later, her views were underlined by the state’s sports minister Tim Mander, who said: “If the Indian team wants to spit the dummy and disregard quarantine guidelines in Brisbane for the fourth Test, then they shouldn’t come.”
The Indian team hasn’t taken these comments well and insists that each rule set in place has been followed rigorously.
Say sources: “Team India is being made to look like all they’ve done so far, after landing in Australia, is broken rules.”
It is learnt that BCCI’s top officials discussed the matter on Tuesday afternoon and are preparing their groundwork to speak to Cricket Australia on the matter.