In a huge relief to the Indian cricket team in Australia and the fans back home, all the visitors' players have tested negative for COVID-19 before the 3rd Test. The news comes close on the heels of the ongoing scrutiny of five Indian players for a possible breach of bio-secure bubble protocols.
Vice-captain Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw reportedly had dinner in a Melbourne restaurant on New Year. Following this, reports surfaced in the Australian media that the players had neglected instructions.
A BCCI source had earlier called the clamor around the news as a 'malicious spin' by the Australian media. The negative test results on Monday vindicate the Indian cricket team's stance that they have observed all the necessary protocols. The BCCI also released a statement confirming the same.
"Playing members of the Indian Cricket Team and support staff underwent an RT-PCR Test for Covid-19 on January 3, 2021. All tests have returned negative results," said the BCCI.
Indian cricket team players had to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine in Australia. And after testing negative in this period, they are reportedly allowed to dine-out provided they take all the necessary precautions.
If the contingent had tested positive, the consequences would have ranged from $10,000 fines to more quarantines just ahead of the 3rd Test.
The Indian cricket team is only focussing on the 3rd Test: BCCI
As reported by ANI, a BCCI source said the Indian cricket team is confident of following the protocols and are just focussing on taking a lead in Sydney.
"The boys have shut the outside world and they are not even looking at who is saying what. We are backing our belief that no protocol was broken and that is that. We are now looking at the third Test and the focus is on the next game at the SCG. We want to make it 2-1 by the time we leave the SCG at the end of the Test match," the source said.
The Border-Gavaskar Trophy stands level at 1-1. The third match of the 4-Test series will commence on 7th January.Published 04 Jan 2021, 09:21 IST