The fourth Test of the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia scheduled to be played at the iconic The Gabba, Brisbane is in further doubt after the Queensland government announced a ‘hard lockdown’. It is after a cleaner at a quarantine hotel in Brisbane has tested positive for the highly contagious UK variant of COVID-19, prompting the state government to take drastic action.Also Read - IND vs NZ: Rishabh Pant Didn't Understand His Role in T20 Cricket - Daniel Vettori Feels Time is Running Out For Team India Wicketkeeper
Both the Indian and Australian squads are slated to travel to Brisbane on Tuesday, a day after the completion of the third Test in Sydney. There has already been a speculation that the visitors will refuse to travel to Brisbane for the final Test of the series beginning January 15, wanting to avoid the Queensland government’s strict biosecurity protocols. Also Read - ICC ODI Rankings 2021: Mithali Raj Retains 3rd Spot Among Batters, Jhulan Goswami Remains at Second Position in Bowlers Tally
“We are going to go hard and we are going to go early to do everything we can to stop the spread,” Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Friday. Also Read - BCCI Bans Pork or Beef: Team India's New Diet Plan Draws Massive Criticism, Twitter Slams Indian Board's Decision For Making Halal Meat Complusory
“This is incredibly serious. We are declaring that Greater Brisbane area a hotspot and I’m also asking my colleagues from other jurisdictions to also declare Greater Brisbane a hotspot until we get through this together,” Palaszczuk said.
When asked about the Brisbane test match which is slated to begin from January 15, the premier replied: “Still talking . . . still positive talks at this stage.”
Meanwhile, BCCI on Thursday wrote to Cricket Australia seeking relaxation in hard quarantine protocol 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.
It is learnt that a top 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.
“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 Indian players have been put under hotel quarantine in Sydney, the venue for the ongoing third Test, and skipper Ajinkya Rahane made his displeasure evident when he spoke how it was ‘challenging to stay in hotel’ when outside city looked ‘normal’.
In case Queensland authorities don’t budge, then the fourth Test could well be played in Sydney from the same dates but that remains a distant possibility as hectic parleys continue.