“It is too taxing for the boys, asking them to travel to Brisbane and be in the jail for another five days”
The BCCI has told Cricket Australia that India will not be able to travel to Brisbane for the final Test of the ongoing series if they will have to undergo another round of hard quarantine. ESPNcricinfo understands the BCCI mentioned that point in its latest communication sent to CA on Thursday.
The Brisbane Test, scheduled between January 15 and 19, will mark the end of India’s long tour of Australia, which started with the white-ball segment last November. A senior BCCI official confirmed an email had been sent to CA, and said that a hard quarantine was “immaterial” when the India squad had already spent the first two weeks upon arrival in Australia isolating.
The official pointed out that while normal life in Australia continued without too many restrictions, asking players to be confined to their rooms in team hotels, put down as a condition by the Queensland government, did not add up.
Life in Sydney, the venue for the ongoing third Test, while not completely normal, is less restrictive than the biosecure environment the players have been put in. Parts of Northern Beaches where the latest Covid-19 outbreak occurred remain in lockdown, but people are generally free to move about. However, the players have been kept in stricter restrictions because the border between New South Wales and Queensland, which will host the next Test, has been locked down as Greater Sydney is still a “hotspot”.
According to the official, the Indian team management has told the BCCI that the players had cited it was becoming “too stressful” to be restricted to the team hotels.
As reported earlier on Thursday, CA had booked the team hotels at both Sydney and Brisbane. Players are allowed to mingle outside their rooms in the communal areas within the hotel. The one difference is that the restrictions in Sydney are CA protocols while those in Brisbane are imposed by the Queensland government as the terms to allow exemptions to be granted.
According to the BCCI official, in case the CA was “so particular” about the restrictions they could conduct the final Test also in Sydney, where the third Test is taking place this week. “It is too taxing for the boys, asking them to travel to Brisbane and be in the jail for another five days,” the official said.
Nagraj Gollapudi is news editor at ESPNcricinfo