India captain not drawn into Gabba saga

Scott Bailey
·2-min read

India captain Ajiknya Rahane has refused to be drawn into the Brisbane hotel quarantine saga, insistent it would not distract his players in the third Test at the SCG.

Rahane became the first India player to speak since a source within their camp aired frustrations over the looming quarantine in Brisbane.

But the stand-in skipper refused to say if his team would travel to the Gabba for the fourth Test or push for it to be played elsewhere, stating that any decisions would be left with team management.

He also pointed out on three separate occasions that the cricketers were living under tougher conditions in Sydney than the general public, who he said were enjoying a normal life.

However he claimed that was not annoying his Indian team during the city's outbreak, as they gear up for a crucial clash in Sydney with the series locked at 1-1 and two Tests to play.

"We know that outside life in Sydney is completely normal. But the players we are quarantine," Rahane said.

"It is a challenge but we have to face it as a team.

"We are just focusing on tomorrow's game, we're not complaining or anything ... We just want to start well in tomorrow's game.

"The BCCI and team management will make any decisions (about Brisbane)."

Players from both teams have previously enjoyed some freedoms since serving their two weeks' quarantine on arriving in Australia, but that has largely ended in Sydney.

Teams will also be confined to their hotel in Brisbane when not playing, under the conditions of the exemption to travel over the closed border from NSW to Queensland.

Rahane's also played a straight bat when told Australia's captain Tim Paine admitted earlier on Wednesday that India's complaints were grinding on the hosts and the series was at boiling point.

Instead, India have more immediate matters to address in their XI.

Navdeep Saini will debut in a young bowling attack with Umesh Yadav joining Mohammed Shami on the sidelines.

Rohit Sharma will also return to the team after a hamstring injury and two weeks' in quarantine at the expense of Mayank Agarwal.

"We all are really excited to have him back on the team, especially his experience at the highest level," Rahane said.

"He is batting really well in the nets.

"He came to Melbourne, started his practice straight away when our Test match was over.

"The last couple of series he has been playing as an opener so you will definitely see him at the top."

India XI: Ajinkya Rahane (captain), Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wicketkeeper), Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Siraj, Navdeep Saini.