Indian boycott threat causing ‘tension’

Reports of the BCCI’s reluctance to travel to Brisbane for the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy has caused a “bit of tension” between the two sides, according to Australian captain Tim Paine.

When India last toured Australia in the 2018/19 summer, the series was littered with a handful of feisty encounters, particularly between Paine and Indian skipper Virat Kohli.

However, the first two Tests of this series have been relatively subdued, with the exception of one entertaining confrontation between Australian batsman Matthew Wade and Indian wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant at the MCG.

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Speaking to reporters on Wednesday morning, Paine said he enjoyed the ongoing battle between Wade and Pant, warning there could be more to come at the SCG this week.

“It’s been unusually tame, the start of this series, I think it’s because both teams are just happy to be back playing Test cricket,” Paine said.

“There has been such a big break and there is a lot of respect between the two teams.

“It’s boiling away. There’s some stuff starting to happen, there’s a bit of chat starting to happen, so I think this Test is going to be fascinating, not just from a cricket point of view.”

Australia’s captain Tim Paine attends a training session at the Sydney Cricket Ground.Source:AFP

As reported by The Australian’s Peter Lalor on Monday, the BCCI does not want to travel to Brisbane if the mentally exhausted players will be confined to rooms in a hard lockdown.

“If you look at it, we were quarantining for 14 days in Dubai before landing in Sydney and doing so for another 14 days,” an Indian official told Cricbuzz.

“That means we were in a hard bubble for nearly a month before coming out. What we don’t want now is to quarantine again at the end of the tour.”

According to Lalor’s report, the SCG will host two Test matches unless the Queensland government grant an exemption or the BCCI back down from their demands.

Paine admitted the reports from “unnamed sources” was starting to take its toll on the Australian squad, who were eager to play the fourth Test at the Gabba.

Australia has not lost a Test match at the venue since 1988.

“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,” Paine said.

“I think it’s starting to grind a few people, so we’ll see how it goes.

Australia’s pacemen Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins.Source:AFP

“When you hear things like that coming, particularly from India who we know hold a lot of power in world cricket, it’s likely that it could happen.

“For us, we just want to be really clear on this Test match, we know the protocols, we know what’s expected of us, and we are going to focus on that this week. Whatever happens next week happens, and again we’ll adapt to it.

“We’re not buying into where the Test is being played. As far as we are aware, it’s at the Gabba.

“I said in a team meeting the other day we couldn’t care less if you rang us up and said it’s in Mumbai tomorrow we’d get on a plane and we’d go and play it. That’s the way we’re looking at it.”

The third Test between Australia and India will commence on Thursday at the SCG, with the first ball scheduled for 11am AEDT.

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