Cricket Australia Confirms Fourth Test Will Go Ahead as Planned in Brisbane
With harsher bio-security protocols to fulfil in Brisbane, Team India expressed reluctance to travel to the venue of the fourth and final match of their ongoing Test series in Australia. But the clouds of uncertainty that were hanging over the holding of the match at the Gabba for the last two weeks have cleared, as confirmed by Cricket Australia’s interim CEO Nick Hockley. The match will take place as scheduled, from January 15 to 19 after the Indian team is reported to have agreed to travel to Brisbane.
Fears of Quarantine
Fears related to the strictness of quarantine in hotels had caused unnamed sources from within the Indian camp to call for the match to be shifted to another venue. A three-day lockdown in Brisbane was ordered by Queensland Prime Minister Anastacia Palaszxzuk after the detection of the UK variant of COVID-19 a week ago. The lockdown is due to end on Monday, 11 January.
Indian Players Allowed to Mingle
BCCI is said to have approved the Gabba as the venue of the fourth game after being assured that the Indian players would be able to mingle at their hotel and that police would not patrol their floors, with an entire accommodation complex hired by CA to house the Indian players.
CA CEO Hockley Confirms Test at Brisbane
In his statement confirming the match, Hockley is reported to have stated, “We have been working closely with Queensland Health to ensure our strong biosecurity plans guarantee the fourth Test at the Gabba is played safely.
Throughout the season, we have developed a strong track record for a safe and responsible return to the sport thanks to our well-established bio-security protocols, the ongoing support from public health officials and the incredibly hard work of so many people across Australian cricket.
I want to thank the Queensland Government for their cooperation and willingness to working closely with Cricket Australia (CA) and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) so we can deliver the fourth Test as planned, but more importantly, delivering on a plan that places the safety and wellbeing of the players, match officials and the wider community as a top priority.”
Covid Restrictions at the Gabba
The Gabba would only be allowed 50% of its total capacity during the match, with an approximate cap of 20,000 fans per day. The decision was taken based on the advice of the Queensland Government and the Queensland Health to ensure the safety of spectators planning to attend the match, according to a statement by CA.
In a separate statement, Stirling Hinchliffe, Queensland Sports Minister, said that the people of his state were keen to watch Australia and India playing in the fourth match of the series at the Gabba. Acknowledging that preparing for the match had not been made easier by the covid-19 pandemic, the minister expressed a need to make the match “a covid-safe Test” and thanked the BCCI and CA for cooperating with Queensland’s health authority.
During the match, any fan wishing to enter, leave or move around the Gabba would compulsorily have to wear a mask. Australia has had an unbeaten run of 31 Test matches at the Gabba, the longest such streak that any team has enjoyed at any venue in the world. Their last loss at the venue came in 1988.
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