The schedule for Australia’s Test series against India was under threaat again on Sunday after reports the tourists were unhappy at the prospect of re-entering strict quarantine for the fourth Test in Brisbane.
The third Test in the four-match series is slated to start at Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday after Cricket Australia decided not to move the match in the wake of an outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the city’s northern beaches.
Five players of the Indian cricket team were put under quarantine after a video surfaced on social media showing them eating at a restaurant in Melbourne on New Year’s Day.
The video showed Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw eating together on New Year’s Day.
The Australian and Indian cricket boards are investigating the alleged breach of biosecurity protocols with precedent suggesting the players might be fined for their actions.
India’s players underwent 14 days of strict quarantine after their arrival in Australia but have since enjoyed more freedom while preparing for and playing matches in Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.
Reports in the Australian media, citing sources within the touring party, said India’s players, many of whom have been in some form of quarantine or other for six months, would refuse to travel if they were going to be subjected to a hard lockdown. A spokesman for the India team did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the reports.
But Queensland government members lashes out at Indian Cricket Team on Sunday.
The state’s Health Shadow Minister Ros Bates bluntly said: “If the Indians don’t want to play by the rules, don’t come.”
Queensland’s Shadow Sports Minister Tim Mander also dismissed India’s complaints.
“If the Indian cricket team wants to spit the dummy and disregard quarantine guidelines in Brisbane for the fourth Test, then they shouldn’t come,” Mander said.
“The same rules must apply for everyone. Simple.”
Sydney, which at one stage looked like losing the third Test to Melbourne, would be the most likely beneficiary if it was decided to move the fourth match from Brisbane.
The acting Premier of New South Wales state, John Barilaro, told reporters on Sunday that the government was focusing on staging the third test safely in front of a crowd of up to 20,000 fans.
“We’re going to commit to the test we have,” he said. “If an opportunity arises post that, we’ll take that opportunity then.”