The five Indian players — Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini — who are at the centre of an alleged breach of Cricket Australia’s bio-security protocols, are expected to play in the third Test beginning Thursday at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) despite an ongoing investigation by the BCCI.
The five players, who were put in isolation after both the Australian and Indian cricket boards launched an investigation into a video showing them sitting indoors in a restaurant in Melbourne on Friday, have been asked to train separately from the rest of the squad and it could be possible that they will travel on Monday separately from the squad.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) report, the Board of Control for Cricket in India is expected to take a “pragmatic approach” should it find the quintet had breached the bio-security protocols. Cricket Australia cannot sanction the said players even if their rules are found to have been broken as the quintet are not their employees, the SMH report further stated.
The Indian side on Sunday boarded two buses to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for a gym session after their practice session was cancelled due to rain.
Gill boarded a team bus to return to the hotel with several other members of the touring party after training but a spokesman for the Indian side said social distancing requirements were met, the report claimed.
According to the publication, Friday’s incident was not the first time that Indian players seemingly breached the bio-secure protocols.
India captain Virat Kohli and limited-overs all-rounder Hardik Pandya were also pictured at a shop in Sydney in early December during the white-ball leg of the tour.
There have been reports emerging about Team India’s reluctance to play the fourth and final Test of the ongoing series in Brisbane due to harsher bio-security protocols in Queensland.
However, members of the Queensland government have stated that the Indian team should not enter the state if they are unwilling to coordinate with the protocols that have been laid out.
The ongoing four-match series is currently tied at 1-1 with Australia winning the first Test in Adelaide while India registering a win in the second in Melbourne.