India have informed Cricket Australia that their contingent will not travel to Brisbane for the fourth Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy if they have to undergo another hard quarantine, ESPNCricinfo reported.
On Thursday, PTI reported that BCCI have sought relaxation in quarantine protocols of Brisbane for the fourth Test to go ahead, reminding the host board that the visitors are done with the strict isolation that was agreed upon at the beginning of the tour.
The ESPNCricinfo report added that a BCCI 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, did not add up.”
According to PTI, a BCCI executive has written to CA head Earl Eddings citing to him the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two boards on the modalities of the tour which never had any specification on two hard quarantines in separate cities.
From Friday evening, Brisbane enters a three-day lockdown to contain the UK strain of Covid-19 after a quarantine hotel worker tested positive, the Guardian reported. It will end at 6 pm local time on Monday, 11 January.
The final Test is due to start on January 15 and the quarantine rules will restrict the players to just their hotel rooms after day’s play.
“The discussions are still on but today BCCI has formally sent a letter seeking relaxation of hard quarantine for its players if they are to have the match in Brisbane,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.
“The MoU that was signed never mentioned about two hard quarantines. India have done one hard quarantine in Sydney (practice and back to hotel room).”
So what are the precise demands placed by the BCCI after addressing the grievances of its players and where exactly does Queensland health authorities stand at the moment?
“The BCCI’s demand is simple. The players want to mingle with each other inside the hotel bio-bubble like they did in the IPL. They want to have their meals together inside the hotel and also have the team meetings together. That’s not a big demand,” the official is quoted as saying.
“The BCCI has told CA that the relaxation of the quarantine rules should be given in writing. During India’’s hard quarantine in Sydney after reaching from UAE, there used to be police personnel in each floor ensuring that there is no breach of bio-safety protocols.
“Hopefully, nothing of that sort will happen if the team travels to Brisbane. All we want is IPL style bio-bubble.”
The Indian players have been put under hotel quarantine in Sydney, the venue for the ongoing third Test, and skipper Ajinkya Rahane had said ahead of the test that it was “challenging to stay in hotel” when outside city looked “normal”.
(With PTI inputs)