BCCI on Thursday wrote to Cricket Australia seeking relaxation in hard quarantine protocol of Brisbane for the fourth Test to go ahead, reminding the host board that the visitors are done with the strict isolation that was agreed upon at the beginning of the tour.
It is learnt that a top BCCI executive has written to CA head Earl Eddings citing to him the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the two boards on the modalities of the tour which never had any specification on two hard quarantines in separate cities.
The Brisbane Test is due to start on January 15 and the quarantine rules will restrict the players to just their hotel rooms after day’s play.
“The discussions are still on but today BCCI has formally sent a letter seeking relaxation of hard quarantine for its players if they are to have the match in Brisbane,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.
“The MoU that was signed never mentioned about two hard quarantines. India have done one hard quarantine in Sydney (practice and back to hotel room),” he added.
So what are the precise demands placed by the BCCI after addressing the grievances of its players and where exactly does Queensland health authorities stand at the moment?
“The BCCI’s demand is simple. The players want to mingle with each other inside the hotel bio-bubble like they did in the IPL. They want to have their meals together inside the hotel and also have the team meetings together. That’s not a big demand,” he informed.
As far as Cricket Australia’s communication is concerned, they have stated that players can mingle outside their room but only those who are residing on the same floor. Player from two different floors cannot come in contact with each other, which to many seems ridiculous.
“The BCCI has told CA that the relaxation of the quarantine rules should be given in writing. During India’s hard quarantine in Sydney after reaching from UAE, there used to be police personnel in each floor ensuring that there is no breach of bio-safety protocols.
“Hopefully, nothing of that sort will happen if the team travels to Brisbane. All we want is IPL style bio-bubble.”
The Indian players have been put under hotel quarantine in Sydney, the venue for the ongoing third Test, and skipper Ajinkya Rahane made his displeasure evident when he spoke how it was “challenging to stay in hotel” when outside city looked “normal”.
In case Queensland authorities don’t budge, then the fourth Test could well be played in Sydney from the same dates but that remains a distant possibility as hectic parleys continue.