NEW DELHI: The entire Indian cricket contingent, including the five players who are in precautionary isolation, will travel to Sydney for the third Test against Australia together on the same chartered flight on Monday.
The five players — vice-captain Rohit Sharma, opener Shubman Gill, stumper Rishabh Pant, pacer Navdeep Saini and batsman Prithvi Shaw — have not been barred from travelling with the team despite an ongoing investigation into an alleged bio-security protocol breach by them.
Cricket Australia, in a media release on Saturday, said it is probing the matter jointly with the BCCI after a video of the players at an indoor restaurant was posted by a fan, who identified himself as Navaldeep Singh on Twitter.
“If you carefully read the CA statement, they never said that it’s a breach. They said that they are seeking to determine if it’s a breach.
“So there is no restriction on these five players travelling with the team to Sydney. The entire team is flying tomorrow afternoon,” a senior BCCI official told PTI on conditions of anonymity.
It is understood that the controversy has not gone down well with the travelling team and it is not amused with how Cricket Australia has so far handled the issue.
“Had the gentleman (the fan) in question not lied about hugging a player (Rishabh Pant) on social media, this mess wouldn’t have happened. The players had gone inside because it was drizzling.
“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 the bill,” the official said.
“You want to tell me that Cricket Australia will be taking a decision based on a purported video of a person who first lied and then retracted his statement,” he added.
What was Administrative Manager Girish Dongre’s role?
For BCCI, the man under scanner is administrative manager Girish Dongre. Dongre is an employee of the BCCI and is supposed to handle and also keep the team abreast about the COVID-19 protocols.
“The players are not supposed to carry the protocol sheets or remember every fine line written,” another BCCI official said.
“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,” he added.
Brisbane Test on as of now:
The Australian media on Sunday claimed that the fourth Test in Brisbane has been jeopardised as the tourists are reluctant to travel there in view of stricter quarantine rules.
But it is learnt that the fourth Test, starting at the Gabba from January 15, is on as of now.
The border restrictions between New South Wales (venue of the third Test in Sydney) and Queensland state government is a problem.
Queensland has closed its borders for people travelling from New South Wales due to the rising cases of COVD-19 in Sydney and surrounding areas.
However there will be an exception made for the Test match and players will be in a stricter bio-bubble, similar to the one in the IPL.
It could well happen that in order to play the Test match in Brisbane, the Indian team would have to be in a stricter bio-bubble from Sydney itself which would make for a hard quarantine (hotel-stadium-hotel) of around 15 days.
However, as of now BCCI has not taken any call on asking CA to shift the Test match from Brisbane to Sydney.
“It’s a fluid situation. Let’s wait for a few more days,” a BCCI official said.