‘Nothing formal from BCCI’ on Brisbane Test switch, says Cricket Australia chief executive

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“Both teams have wanted to play the schedule as we’ve set out”

There has been “nothing formal from the BCCI” about India being reluctant to play the fourth and final Test in Brisbane, Nick Hockley, the chief executive of Cricket Australia, has said, adding that CA has been in “daily” touch with their counterparts in India and that, as things stand, the series should continue on schedule.

Speaking to reporters in Sydney on Monday, Hockley said that the BCCI was “fully across (and) supportive” of quarantine requirements in the state of Queensland. “We speak to our counterparts at the BCCI daily. We have had nothing formal from the BCCI to suggest anything other than they’re supportive,” Hockley said. “Both teams have wanted to play the schedule as we’ve set out.”

The schedule appeared to have come under threat after reports on Sunday that India were unhappy at the prospect of re-entering strict quarantine for the fourth Test in Brisbane. The third Test in the four-match series is slated to start in Sydney on Thursday after CA decided not to move the match in the wake of an outbreak of Covid-19 cases in the city’s northern beaches. On Monday, the two sides flew across to New South Wales, which reported eight new locally transmitted cases of the virus and ramped up social distancing measures on Sunday.

Queensland state has closed its border with Greater Sydney and although agreement has been reached to allow the players to fly to Brisbane for the fourth Test on January 15, there is uncertainty as to what level of restrictions they would face after having been in Sydney.

Earlier in the day, both sets of players, support staffers and match officials for the ongoing Test series tested negative for Covid-19. The tests were conducted on Sunday and the results came out a day later, following which they travelled from Melbourne to Sydney for the third Test of the series that stands level at 1-1.

The SCG Test will be played in front of 25% capacity crowds after a Covid-19 outbreak, which began in the northern beaches region of Sydney and has since spread to other parts of the city, almost forced CA to take the New Year’s fixture out of its traditional home. This will involve a hectic process of refunding and reticketing with only three days to go to the Test.

“In response to the public health situation in New South Wales, we are working closely with Venues NSW and NSW Health to put appropriate biosecurity measures in place for our staff, players, match officials, broadcasters and fans to ensure we play the third Test at the SCG safely,” Hockley said. “Reducing the capacity of the venue is crucial in achieving social-distancing requirements, and we sincerely thank ticket-holders for their patience, as we process refunds today, reconfigure the SCG seating plan to deliver these social-distancing measures and go back on sale.”

The teams’ negative tests were important considering the possible bio-security breach by five India players, which is still being investigated.

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