The Board of Control for Cricket in India will back Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw, and Navdeep Saini as the general consensus is that there hasn’t been any deliberate breach from their end, reported news agency PTI.
The five players in question – Sharma, Pant, Gill, Shaw, and Saini – were placed in isolation after Cricket Australia decided to launch joint investigation with BCCI to determine on whether there was a breach of bio-secure protocols on the players’ part.
“The players were standing outside the restaurant and due to drizzle, they had gotten inside. If this is a way of trying to unsettle the team before the third Test, it’s a bad ploy by Cricket Australia,” a senior BCCI official told PTI.
As per protocol, players are allowed to eat out in outdoor settings, following social distancing norms.
Notably, a top BCCI brass had initially brushed aside a possible investigation into the matter but matters changed quickly when CA issued a joint statement.
“The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket Australia (CA) were today alerted to a video post on social media that purported to show Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini eating at an indoor venue in Melbourne on New Year’s Day,” CA said in a statement.
“The BCCI and CA are investigating the matter and seeking to determine whether the outing constitutes a breach of bio-security protocols.” The isolation protocols were put in place after consulting with medical teams.
“…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,” CA further stated.
The matter first came to notice when a fan, in a series of tweets including a video, suggested that the Indian players were sitting inside an indoor restaurant on Twitter on Friday. He claimed to have been seated close to them and also talked about getting a hug from Pant after he paid for the players’ meal. He later retracted the claim about the hug after it raised serious questions on a breach of protocol.
It is understood that as per bio-security protocols provided by Cricket Australia, players are not just barred from indoor restaurants but they are also not supposed to avail any public transport. They are, however, allowed a walk around the cities where they are playing.
Cricket Australia’s statement doesn’t specify any time-frame for the investigation but it has been learnt that the Indian team is not amused by the turn of events.
India and Australia are engaged in a four-Test series right now and the third match is due to start on January 7 in Sydney.
The match will begin on January 7 and the two teams will arrive in Sydney a couple of days before the scheduled start.
(with PTI inputs)