The governing body for cricket in India, the BCCI, has been forced to intervene over an accomodation situation in Brisbane that left the players angry and frustrated.
Despite previous fears that the Gabba might be stripped of hosting rights for the fourth Test due to concerns from India about the strict quarantine measures the players would be out under, the team has now settled at its Brisbane hotel after the epic draw against Australia in the third Test.
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Queensland's border is currently closed to travellers from Sydney because of COVID-19 cases, meaning Australia and India's squads had to shuffle into hotel quarantine after their chartered flight touched down in Brisbane.
The state government has provided exemptions for players to train and play at the Gabba, and mingle in communal areas of the inner-city hotel that has been booked out entirely by Cricket Australia (CA).
CA chief executive Nick Hockley could be forgiven for breathing a sigh of relief on Monday after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) agreed to arrangements proposed by the home board and Queensland officials.
But the tourists made it clear to CA after Tuesday's check-in that their experience did not meet expectations, according to several media outlets in India.
India's concerns reportedly included the standard of the gym, the fact that the hotel pool and restaurant were closed, and absence of room service and housekeeping.
An unnamed source from the Indian travelling party told the Times of India the hotel conditions were essentially a “prison for all practical purposes”.
“We are locked up in our rooms, have to make our own beds, clean our own toilets. Food is coming from a nearby Indian restaurant which will be given to us on our floor. We can’t move out of the floor that’s been designated to us,” the source said.
There is a three-day break between the third and fourth Tests, with the injury-riddled touring party keen to ensure its players can recover as well as possible while in lockdown.
BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah and chief executive Hemang Amin all reportedly raised concerns about what they were hearing from the team on the ground.
The Times of India quoted an unnamed senior BCCI official, who claimed that CA gave fresh assurances on Tuesday regarding the hotel facilities.
"The board has been told that the team has been given access to all the lifts in the hotel. They can use a gym too. It has been assured that there will be room service and housekeeping," the BCCI official said.
"The team has also been given a team room where they can assemble and have meetings. Only the swimming pool is not open.
"The players are exhausted and have retired to their rooms. But they would like to go out for a stroll later ... BCCI is always by the side of its players and will ensure they get the best treatment."
Injury crisis grows for tourists
The tourists are already facing an injury crisis, with reports out of India claiming strike bowler Jasprit Bumrah will miss the final Test due to an abdominal strain.
If Bumrah is ruled out, he would become the latest in a lengthy list of Indian stars who are unavailable for the Gabba decider.
Ravindra Jadeja had surgery on his damaged left thumb soon after India’s courageous finish Monday at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where injured Rishabh Pant (97), Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari helped India bat through four full sessions in the fourth innings to salvage a draw and keep the series level at 1-1.
Jadeja had been padded up ready to go in next if either Ashwin or Vihari was dismissed late on the last day in Sydney, but wasn't required.
His absence for the fourth test in Brisbane will deprive India of a key allrounder, while the absence of strike bowler Bumrah — if confirmed — would be a major setback for an already depleted attack that is missing injured fast bowlers Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
That would leave Mohammed Siraj, who has played two tests, to lead a pace attack likely containing Navdeep Saini, who made his test debut in Sydney.
Siraj had the third test stopped for eight minutes on Sunday afternoon after complaining to umpires of racial abuse from the crowd. Six men were ejected before play resumed, and police and Cricket Australia are continuing investigations.
Meanwhile, Pant (elbow), Ashwin (back) and Vihari (hamstring strain) will all be monitored before India selects its starting XI for the Gabba, where Australia hasn't lost a test match since 1988.
India's squad depth will be seriously tested, with the BCCI unable to call in any more reserves because of travel restrictions in place for the COVID-19 pandemic.
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