Former Indian left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha has lambasted the Australian media for making unwarranted allegations of COVID protocol breach by the Indian players. He also hit out at the Queensland Health Minister for releasing statements without ascertaining the full facts.
Five Indian players - Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini - were alleged to have violated the COVID protocols while dining at a Melbourne restaurant. The Australian media subsequently suggested there might have been other breaches by the Indian team previously including one involving Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya.
The Queensland Health Minister had also gone on to issue a statement that the Indian team was not welcome in the state if they were unwilling to adhere to the COVID-related restrictions.
Pragyan Ojha shared his views about the entire episode during a discussion on Sports Today.
Pragyan Ojha was asked about the Australian media putting up a 20-day old photograph of Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya and suggesting they were in breach of protocol.
He laughed the reports off and termed them as ridiculous actions by the Australian media, just to deviate the attention from their team's defeat in the Boxing Day Test.
"That's stupidity to the core I feel. Because everything was alright. Virat went shopping for his kid, same Hardik Pandya did. And few went for dinner here and there. And suddenly after losing the Test match they start doing this," said Ojha
"When you are in that position, you should get your facts right" - Pragyan Ojha
Pragyan Ojha didn't mince words while criticising the Queensland Health Minister for making comments without being aware of the entire facts of the matter.
"I can understand the media and others, but I was not happy with the way the Health Minister gave out that statement and somebody who gave that information to the Health Minister. These are things which people take very seriously. And when you are in that position, you should get your facts right," said Ojha
He added it was unbecoming of a person in her position to give such an irresponsible statement.
"Someone of her stature coming out and giving that statement without knowing, I am very sure she doesn't know what was happening there. Maybe the information that was passed on to her was not clear or if the information was clear that was not the statement we expect from the Government because this is a very high profile tournament," added Pragyan Ojha.
He signed off by highlighting the Indian players are fully aware of all the protocols and have been following them since the IPL and in the limited-overs leg of the tour before the ongoing Test series.
"I am very sure people who went out or are there, they know what are the protocols and what they need to do. And they have been following it. This is not the first time the boys were in the bio bubble. They have been in the IPL and the T20Is and the ODIs. So they are used to it, so that is something which was concerning for me," concluded Pragyan Ojha
The Australian media is known to target the opposition teams whenever their own side is going through a tough time. The Indian cricket team would be well aware of these tricks and would want to answer their critics with their performance on the field of play.
Published 04 Jan 2021, 14:44 IST