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India to play Gabba Test after making a unique last-minute demand

India will play the Gabba Test from January 15
India will play the Gabba Test from January 15
Wasiq Agha
Modified 10 Jan 2021, 07:45 IST

India will play the final Test of the Border-Gavaskar series at Brisbane after putting up an additional condition. The team wants to fly out of Australia as soon as the Test finishes, to avoid further complications with quarantine restrictions.

The request is a result of concerns that the evolving COVID-19 situation could lead to additional quarantine for India once they return home. India fear that their preparations for the England series could get hampered if similar restrictions are placed upon the team coming from Australia.

The fate of the Gabba Test has been in doubt due to Queensland’s biosecurity restrictions. The Indian team are unhappy with the restrictions they have had to put up with and want to spend the least amount of time possible in quarantine. 

Times of India first reported the development, who quoted a senior BCCI official as he explained the special condition communicated by the board to Cricket Australia. 

“BCCI has told CA that arrangements for the team’s return to India should be made in a way that the team doesn’t have to stay back unnecessarily after the Test ends. The team’s departure should be immediate. If possible, they should cut out even the possibility of an overnight stay. The first flight back should be arranged.”

The last-minute request is in addition to the one earlier made by the BCCI about India’s hotel arrangements. The board has been clear that the players should be allowed to mingle and move freely in the hotel. The same official speaking to the publication also revealed that India never objected to playing in Brisbane.

“We never objected to playing in Brisbane or any health protocol. The Test is very much on. At the moment, Cricket Australia is working out the logistics with the local government and getting clarity on the three-day lockdown imposed in Queensland.”

India players to exit bubble upon return from Australia

Many India players have been in a bubble ever since the IPL began in September
Many India players have been in a bubble ever since the IPL began in September

BCCI’s concerns grew further after Brisbane reported a case of the UK strain of COVID-19. The current rules require travellers from the UK to undergo institutional quarantine if they land in Delhi. 

Media reports also disclosed that India’s squad will exit the bubble once they return from Australia. The players will get time off to meet family and friends, before re-entering the bubble.

The England series will begin from February 5 to March 28 and includes 4 Tests, 5 T20Is and 3 ODIs.

Published 10 Jan 2021, 07:45 IST
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