Kolkata: With the third Test in Sydney barely four days away, the Indian camp came under some pressure when five of their players were placed in isolation while the Australian and Indian cricket boards investigate allegations of breach of bio-security protocols after a video surfaced showing the players eating at a Melbourne restaurant.
A video posted on social media showed Rohit Sharma, named vice-captain of the Test team on Friday, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw eating together on New Year’s Day. The players were dining inside the restaurant - while according to the strict bio-security protocols set by Cricket Australia - players are allowed to sit outside but not allowed to dine inside restaurants.
“The BCCI and CA are investigating the matter and seeking to determine whether the outing constitutes a breach of bio security protocols,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.
“In the interim, on the advice of the Australian and Indian medical teams, the aforementioned players have been placed in isolation as a precaution. This will include separating the group of players from the broader Indian and Australian squads when travelling and at the training venue.”
The Indian players will be allowed to train while adhering to the biosecurity protocols, the host governing body added.
The board had earlier fined Big Bash League side Brisbane Heat after their players Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence breached bio-security measures earlier this season.
Australia and India are in the middle of a four-Test series now poised at 1-1, with both sides currently staying in Melbourne before travelling to New South Wales for the third Test in Sydney from Thursday.
New South Wales on Saturday made masks compulsory and imposed new restrictions as its coronavirus cluster expanded by seven but the Test match was permitted to go ahead with attendance at 50% capacity.
Earlier in the day, however, the BCCI rubbished reports that it was investigating a violation of protocols by some Indian cricketers, terming them “a malicious spin by a section of Australian media”.
It all started after a fan, identified as Navaldeep Singh, tweeted pictures and videos of the five cricketers having a meal at a restaurant. The fan, who claimed that he was seated close to the players at the restaurant, later apologised for creating confusion by claiming that he had been hugged by Pant after he paid for the players’ meal.
“We can only term it as a malicious spin by a section of Australian media and this has started after their humiliating defeat,” the official told a news agency on conditions of anonymity. The Sydney Morning Herald, in a report based on the fan’s post, reported that the restaurant visit was a breach of bio-bubble protocol.
The Indian players, who had been on the road since the third week of August, 2020 to visit the UAE to play in the Indian Premier League, and there had been no complaints of any breach against them so far.