BCCI and CA at loggerheads over venue for fourth Australia vs India Test

Queensland’s chief health officer has approved CA’s Covid safety and quarantine management plans to conduct the fourth Test but BCCI has officially communicated to CA its concerns about the hard quarantine, stating it was an “unreasonable demand.”

The fate of the fourth Australia vs India Test in Brisbane continues to be in doubt.   -  GETTY IMAGES

The fate of the fourth Australia vs India Test in Brisbane continues to be in doubt with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officially communicating to Cricket Australia (CA) its concerns about the hard quarantine, stating it was an “unreasonable demand.” On Thursday morning, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced 72-hour restrictions in Brisbane following a positive Covid-19 case that was confirmed as being the UK variant of the coronavirus.

However, Queensland’s chief health officer has approved CA’s Covid safety and quarantine management plans to conduct the fourth Test. “Cricket Australia’s plans have been reviewed thoroughly and give us great confidence that they understand the importance and the need for strict quarantine measures to be implemented to facilitate the Test, and they are taking their commitment seriously in ensuring the safety of all Queenslanders,” a Queensland health spokesperson told Sportstar on Friday.

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“If the fourth Test does proceed in Brisbane, both teams and their officials would need to follow the same arrangements Queensland has put in place for other sporting codes like the NRL (National Rugby League) and AFL (Australian Football League). When teams travel from declared hotspots, they would immediately go into quarantine hotels and leave only to train or play matches,” the spokesperson added.

A source close to the development told Sportstar that players from both camps have been as cooperative as possible while following the safety protocols and will continue to do so. The revised measures were informed to the BCCI on December 29 and “[BCCI president] Sourav Ganguly and [secretary] Jay Shah have been happy with the proceedings” this person said.

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It is understood that the restrictions in Brisbane “will be similar” to those for the ongoing Test in Sydney. CA has booked an entire hotel in Brisbane, and the players will be able to mingle in communal areas.

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On Friday, former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said the BCCI is only “protecting its players” by seeking a quarantine relaxation. “The Queensland government is fully entitled to protect its people. Similarly, I believe the BCCI is fully entitled to protect its team. I think that’s something we should never forget,” Gavaskar was quoted as saying by Australia’s Channel 7.

“In Sydney, there are people coming to the ground and then going back and having dinner at a restaurant or having a gathering of 20, 30 people in a pub.

“What they’re saying is they should also be allowed to do something similar. You could have a situation where the ball goes into the crowd, somebody from the crowd touches the ball. One can understand that. One can understand why they’re feeling that way,” added Gavaskar.

The top brass from BCCI and CA will meet on Friday to decide on future course of action.

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