The New Year night outing by five Indian players, including vice-captain
After having gone through testing on Sunday, the Indian team has hardened its stand over new Covid guidelines, with coach
came out to be negative.
The CA has asked the Indian players to stay confined to the hotel in Sydney, where the third Test starts on January 7. The team is flying to Sydney from Melbourne on Monday. Apart from Rohit,
“After that dinner incident all the members have undergone Covid tests. But Ravi bhai has made it clear that if no one comes positive (the result should be known by Monday), then we insist that we be treated normally. We have been asked to stay indoors in Sydney when we are not playing or practising, but the coach has conveyed the team’s position,” a team member told Mirror.
The perception in the Indian camp is that the Australian media started blowing things up after the Indian victory at the MCG. “There would not have been such reports if we had not won the second Test,” the team member said.
The current situation in Australia is unprecedented because of the pandemic and there is a bit of ambiguity over the fourth Test at Gabba. Those travelling from New South Wales to Queensland, have to observe serious health protocols (including 14-day quarantine) as Sydney has become a hot spot in Australia.
Besides, the rules in Queensland are of the local government and for that very reason, CA had to move the white ball encounters from Brisbane to Sydney/Canberra in the beginning of the series after a prolonged but failed engagement with the Queensland government.
“Our position is that they are insisting on isolation and at the same time they’re allowing the crowds inside the stadiums. That is strange. There is always this chance that a Covid positive fan would pick the ball in the stands and throw it back to the ground. That is a potential situation of virus transmission,” the member has contended.
The differences over protocols have been simmering ever since the team arrived in Sydney on November 12. Having undergone isolation for 28 days (for 14 days in Dubai and for 14 days in Sydney), the team has told the CA it wants to be treated as normal people.
But a prominent Indian who lives in Sydney wants the team to understand the situation. “The BCCI and the Indian team are guests of CA and Australia. The world is battling and Australia has been successful in combating Covid due to the tough protocols observed by its populace. The Indian team don’t want local laws to apply to them. When you live as a guest, you don’t demand to make the rules. Indulging in this sort of brinkmanship will only lose the Indian team public support and solidify the media against them.”
However, as this site reported on Saturday that there is also a school of thought that small incidents are being used to demoralise the Indian team ahead of an important game. “Look, if going out to get a meal is breaking protocol, then they did. But this is a strategy to break the team’s concentration. It’s because they know that the Aussie team is weak and they might lose the Test,” Amit Tuteja, himself a hotelier, who is settled in Australia and has followed the game for more than two decades, said.
A mail to CA remained unanswered while BCCI secretary Jay Shah was not immediately available for a comment.