Brisbane Test: BCCI writes to Cricket Australia, asks for ‘written’ guarantees; players miffed | Cricket News

MUMBAI: Taking a strict stand on the “unwarranted” quarantine regulations in Brisbane – that expect the Indian team to remain isolated on the hotel floor before and after playing hours – the BCCI has written to Cricket Australia (CA), seeking a detailed explanation on the plans being put in place and guarantees that there will be ‘relaxation’ in rules.
Having spent close to two months in Australia – the Indian team had flown there on November 12 – Cricket Australia had initially guaranteed the BCCI that the visitors would have to undergo an initial two-week quarantine following which they would be allowed to move around like other citizens.
In line with that understanding, the BCCI now expects CA to either coordinate with their respective state governments and guarantee quarantine relaxation in writing, else either host the fourth Test in Sydney – where the Indian team is currently playing the third Test – or cut short the four-Test series to three.
“The word has to come from the state (Queensland) and the federal government. CA is the governing authority for all cricket in Australia, because of which the BCCI has written to them. But the government in Australia has to convey the final word (through CA),” sources in the BCCI told TOI.
Authorities in Queensland are learnt to have conveyed to CA that the “issues” related to concerns raised by the BCCI are for “CA to resolve”. TOI understands that should a clarification not arrive from the state authorities (or federal), through CA, the fourth Test stands on the verge of either not being played in Brisbane or not being played at all.
What’s left the Indian board and the team management (in Australia) miffed is that the Indian team is being made to look like “caged animals” who’ve been called to Australia to entertain the crowds.
“The crowds are free to move around, enter the stadiums and enjoy the cricket. Players have to stay isolated? Why not ban the crowds and make adequate arrangements for the players? Why can’t Cricket Australia (CA) take a leaf out of how the IPL in UAE – one that was conducted keeping the priorities of cricketers in mind?” say those in the know of developments.
BCCI’s reasoning further stems from the fact that the MOU signed between the two boards prior to the commencement of the series had strictly spelt out the dos and the don’ts that would be required on the tour.
“If BCCI’s demands are seen as absurd, CA is free to point it out in writing. But to hear their ministers accuse Indian cricketers of not sticking to rules and say things like ‘if you don’t want to follow rules, don’t come’ is clearly unwarranted. CA has to tell its respective governments that it was important for them that India tours Australia and not vice-versa,” sources add.
TOI had reported on Tuesday that the Indian board was on the verge of writing to its Australia counterparts on the same. Board sources say: “we’ll be waiting to hear from them” before taking a further call.
A section of those tracking developments are busy slamming the media in Australia for giving the issue ‘a spin’, especially after certain India players were criticised early this week for eating at a public restaurant.
“After two months in Australia, if the players can’t move around freely, especially in a country where malls and other public places are open, crowds are being allowed into stadiums, restaurants and cafes are functioning – then what’s the point. Even someone like Ian Chappell has supported the issues being raised by India,” sources in the team management say.
Chappell has categorically stated that since landing in Australia, the Indian team went through a rigorous 14-day quarantine before starting with the cricket and like any other citizen in the country, the visiting Indian team too was free to move around, as long as basic Covid-related stipulations were being followed.
“But to say now, after two months, that the team is going to be locked on a floor and food is going to be served there, etc, is all nonsense. It’s been a psychologically draining tour already and Australia should, in fact, be glad that the full series actually went ahead in these trying circumstances. It’s been a real struggle for the Indian cricketers to stay calm in the backdrop of what’s at play. Let’s not make this worse,” say those following these developments.

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