Cricket Australia remains intent on the Gabba hosting the fourth Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy despite the most recent coronavirus hurdle.
On Friday morning, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Greater Brisbane would be put under a strict three-day lockdown after a hotel quarantine worker tested positive to the virus.
The city-wide quarantine throws a spanner in the works for the Brisbane Test match, which is scheduled to commence on January 15th, four days after the strict lockdown ends.
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However, Queensland Cricket released a statement on Friday afternoon confirming the Gabba Test had not been impacted by the lockdown announcement.
“Queensland Cricket and Cricket Australia will continue to work with the Queensland Government to ensure the Test is delivered safely,” the statement read.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.Source:AAP
On Friday, a CA spokesperson confirmed the organisation was still targeting the Gabba for the final Test, but the biggest threat potentially comes from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Last month’s COVID-19 outbreak in New South Wales prompted the Queensland Government to close its borders to Greater Sydney, forcing an escalation of restrictions placed on the Australian and Indian cricket teams.
Reports from the subcontinent on Thursday evening claimed the BCCI had written to Cricket Australia to request a relaxation of some of the conditions.
“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 the Press Trust of India.
“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).
“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.”
However, Palaszczuk told reporters on Friday there were “positive talks” with CA about the Gabba Test going ahead.
Tim Paine, Steve Smith, Joe Burns, David Warner and Marnus Labuschagne of Australia.Source:Supplied
Indian cricket great Sunil Gavaskar elaborated on Channel 7: “In Sydney, there are people coming to the ground and then going back and having dinner at a restaurant or having a gathering of 20, 30 people in a pub.
“What they’re saying is they should also be allowed to do something similar. You could have a situation where the ball goes into the crowd, somebody from the crowd touches the ball. One can understand that. One can understand why they’re feeling that way.
“The Queensland Government is fully entitled to protect its people. Similarly I believe the Board of Control for Cricket India is fully entitled to protect its team. I think that’s something we should never forget.”
The SCG remains the most likely replacement for the final Test between Australia and India if required. However, the SCG curators have not been asked to work on preparing a back-up wicket, according to The Courier-Mail.
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