Although they checked into a five-star hotel about four kilometres away from the Gabba, reports have emerged that the Team India contingent is not too pleased with the facilities being provided there owing to the hard COVID-19 quarantine rules.
Speaking to The Times of India, some members of the Indian contingent described the Brisbane hotel as “a prison for all practical purposes”. One of the members was quoted as saying:
“We are locked up in our rooms, have to make our own beds, clean our own toilets. Food is coming from a nearby Indian restaurant which will be given to us on our floor. We can’t move out of the floor that’s been designated to us. The entire hotel is empty, but we can’t use any amenities in the hotel including the swimming pool and the gym. All the cafes and restaurants in the hotel are shut.”
What was promised by way of facilities in Brisbane not being provided: Team India
Brisbane is a zero-COVID zone. While the players do not want to venture out, the team is wondering how a side struggling with so many injuries can recover when basic facilities like the pool and gym are not allowed. A member of the contingent questioned:
“There’s no other guest in the hotel. It’s empty. Then why can’t the players use the amenities?”
The report further added that the Indian team management is highly disappointed with the treatment being meted out in Brisbane, and that the same has been conveyed to the BCCI.
One Team India member, who is tracking the developments closely in Brisbane, told TOI:
“What was promised, by way of facilities, and what’s being provided here are two diametrically opposite things. A lot of things were said earlier during this tour – like, once the mandatory quarantine is over, the players will be comfortable, will be given the necessary amenities etc. And now we’re being asked to make our own beds and clean our own toilets. Is that how BCCI treats these (Aussie) players when they come to India?”
According to the report, Team India has informed the BCCI that they be either allowed to use the amenities at the hotel or put on a flight back to India at the earliest.
According to another report in India Today, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is in touch with Cricket Australia (CA), trying to sort out the issues Team India is reportedly facing in their Brisbane hotel.
The report stated that BCCI president Sourav Ganguly and secretary Jay Shah have spoken to CA officials over the issues, and they have been assured that immediate action will be taken to make Team India players comfortable in Brisbane.
The BCCI is also said to be in touch with Team India captain Ajinkya Rahane and head coach Ravi Shastri and is striving to resolve the issues at the earliest so that the team can focus exclusively on the upcoming Test.
The fourth Test between India and Australia is scheduled to get underway from January 15 at the Gabba in Brisbane, with the series tied at 1-1.
Team India were skeptical about travelling to Brisbane
The latest reports emerge only days after Team India agreed to travel to Brisbane on the condition that the team would be allowed to fly out of Australia as soon as the Test gets over.
Team India were always skeptical of the COVID-19 situation for the Gabba Test owing to the hard quarantine rules in place in Queensland.
BCCI, however, were assured by Cricket Australia that players would be allowed to mingle inside the hotel in bio hot-spots that would be set up.
According to a report in India Today, CA and the BCCI are believed to have even received signed assurances from Queensland Health that Indian players will be allowed to interact inside the hotel.
Many Indian cricketers have been part of the bio-bubble ever since the IPL back in September. BCCI’s concerns grew further after Brisbane reported a case of the UK strain of COVID-19.
It has been learned that Team India will exit the bubble once they return from Australia following the completion of the Brisbane Test.
The players will spend some time with their families before re-entering the bio-bubble for their next assignment.
Team India are scheduled to play England from February 5 to March 28 in a series that features four Tests, five T20Is and three ODIs.Published 12 Jan 2021, 17:02 IST