'Looks like they are trying to find an excuse,' Ponting lashes out at team India
Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting has slammed the Indian cricket team over their decision of declining to the play the fourth Test match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Brisbane, saying that the players didn't complain about the quarantine rules during the 2020 Indian T20 League in the United Arab Emirates.
With the rise of virus cases in the state of Queensland, the area was put on high alert, and thus the quarantine rules were tightened. Jeannette Young, the state’s chief confirmed earlier that the cricket can go on provided that both the teams stick to the protocol applied. Under the guidelines, the players and staff will only be allowed to travel between the hotel and the ground.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) though are of the opinion that these strict guidelines might very well affect India's long cricket series against England, which starts in February.
BCCI and Cricket Australia (CA) are still in discussion over a potential middle ground, but Ponting has expressed his discontent over the issue by saying that Team India is simply trying to find an excuse.
"It looks like they are trying to find an excuse not to go to Brisbane," he further said. "You have signed up for the tour to play the Test matches. It's not ideal for anyone, or the Australians, if they go to Brisbane (to be) locked down in a hotel
"The Australians have actually been in a bubble longer than the Indians have.
"We didn't hear anything about these Indian players worrying about quarantines or lockdowns in the middle of the Indian T20 League, did we?," the 46-year-old stated.
As things stand, an unnamed BCCI source has said that the fourth Test will go ahead as per schedule, but the team has asked CA to smoothly arrange their travel back to the country.
"The Indian team will play the fourth Test in Brisbane," the unnamed senior BCCI official told the Times of India.
"But BCCI has told CA that arrangements for the team's return to India should be made in a way that the team doesn't have to stay back unnecessarily after the Test ends.
"The first flight back should be arranged."
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Glyn Kirk