Strict quarantine for India at Sydney

After an extended stay at Melbourne where they registered a memorable Test win, the Indian team reached Sydney on Monday ahead of the SCG Test starting January 7.

This, after “all RT-PCR Tests of playing members and support staff returned negative” as per a BCCI statement.

With no further updates from Cricket Australia’s investigation into the bio protocol breach by five Indian players, a full-strength team is expected to be in training on Tuesday.

While the team and BCCI officials have privately spoken of unhappiness over stricter bio bubble protocols expected in Brisbane, the venue for the fourth test, a similar bubble has been put together for both teams during their stay in Sydney, too.

With pockets of Sydney declared Covid hotspots and New South Wales registering seven more positive cases on Monday, players of both teams would not be allowed to move out of their hotel, except for training.

With no formal request from BCCI to move the Brisbane test, Cricket Australia’s acting CEO Nick Hockley dismissed reports that there may be any need to reschedule the tour.

“We speak to our counterparts at the BCCI daily. Everyone is very clear on the expectations of what’s involved,” he told reporters on Monday. “The players are very clear that in Sydney and Brisbane the protocols are that they will be within our exclusive hotel and then at the grounds for training and playing the matches. Both sets of team management and the players will be working to ensure that those protocols are observed appropriately.”

He also clarified that players will not be confined to the hotel rooms but can mingle within the confines of the five-star facility.

“Typically for a Test match, players arrive at the ground between 8 am and 9 am and they are there until 6 or 7 at night, and then it’s back to the hotel to rest and recuperate and they will be able to mix within their groups. So, everyone’s fully across that, and supportive,” he said.

Meanwhile, Australian spinner Nathan Lyon made little of the talk of Indian players’ unhappiness over restricted living. “There are a few people from both squads who have been in a bubble for close to six months now but in my eyes it’s a very small sacrifice. Let’s just suck it up and get on with it,” he said.

Crowd capacity at the SCG has been limited to 25 per cent from 50 per cent on the advice of the New South Wales government, which means only around 9,500 people are expected on each day of the Sydney Test. The series stands all square at 1-1.

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