Reports of discontent among the India cricket team at the prospect of being forced into strict quarantine for the fourth Test in Brisbane, Australia, could raise tensions on the field in the series’ third match, Australia captain Tim Paine said yesterday.
Paine said the reports at the weekend that India might refuse to play at the Gabba had started to annoy some of his players and could result in a backlash when the third Test starts at Sydney Cricket Ground today.
“I think there’s a bit of tension starting to boil under the surface with a lot of unnamed sources coming out from their camp saying where they want to play the fourth Test and where they don’t want to go,” he said in his pre-match news conference. “I think it’s starting to grind a few people, so we’ll see how it goes.”
India officials have made no statements about the issue, and Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley on Monday said that he had heard nothing from them to suggest they were unhappy with the arrangements for Brisbane.
India captain Ajinkya Rahane said that quarantine was a burden, but did not address questions about a potential Brisbane boycott, saying that such issues were for the Board of Control for Cricket in India “and the team management.”
“Quarantine life is definitely a challenge, especially we know that in Australia, in Sydney especially, the life is normal,” Rahane told reporters. “The players are stuck in the room, which is okay. We know how to handle it, we are prepared for any kind of situation. We are not at all annoyed. We know what’s our priority here. We are here to play cricket and we just want to do that. Starting from tomorrow, start well in the Test match and, as a team, as a unit, we are just focused on playing some good cricket.”
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Three new COVID-19 cases yesterday hit the Australian Open’s troubled buildup as a backlash grew against international tennis players flown in during a raging pandemic. Two of the new cases were players, state health officials said, taking the total infections to seven since more than 1,000 people arrived in largely COVID-19-free Australia on charter flights last week. The Victoria Department of Health and Human Services said that the two players and a third person associated with the tournament — a woman in her 20s, and two men in their 30s — had returned positive results. The year’s first Grand Slam, delayed three weeks,