Decision following extensive talks with Queensland Health; Gavaskar says he understands India’s stance
Following extensive talks between Cricket Australia, the BCCI and Queensland Health, plans will continue to host the final Test of the series in Brisbane despite the city being put into a three-day lockdown from Friday evening.
The 72-hour restrictions in Brisbane, which currently expire on Monday evening, were announced by premier Annastacia Palaszczuk on Thursday morning following the positive Covid-19 case in a cleaner who had worked in a quarantine hotel, which was confirmed as being the strain originating from the UK.
When asked about the prospects for the Test in Brisbane during the press conference to announce the lockdown, Palaszczuk it was “still positive talks at this stage”. The teams are due to travel on Tuesday.
The fate of the Gabba Test has been in doubt for some days with the India contingent having raised fears about the restrictions they will be placed under, only leaving the team hotel for training and practice. Yesterday it was confirmed that the BCCI had officially communicated with CA their concerns about the hotel quarantine stating that it was an unreasonable demand given the relative lack of restrictions on the general public.
They have been given assurances that the plans signed off on December 29, which allow players to mingle in communal areas of the hotel which has been entirely booked out for the two squads, will not be changed despite today’s developments in Brisbane.
Due to Queensland having a closed border to Greater Sydney, the two squads are under the same quarantine protocols during the third Test in order to be granted exemptions to travel to Brisbane next week.
Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar, who is working for Channel Seven during this series but having to commentate on the third Test from Sydney due to border restrictions, said he understood India’s stance.
“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.
“What they’re saying is they should also be allowed to do something similar. You could have a situation where the ball goes into the crowd, somebody from the crowd touches the ball. One can understand that. One can understand why they’re feeling that way.
“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.”
If there were to be any further developments that required a late change of venue, the SCG would be the option but time is running short to allow groundstaff to start work on a second pitch.
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo