India and Australia are locking horns in a four-Test series for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The series is currently locked 1-1 after the opening two Tests, as both the sides travel to Sydney. The city has seen a recent spike in the number of cases for the coronavirus.
As Team India and Australia's players gear up for the third Test in Sydney, scheduled to be played from Thursday, they are all set to fly out to the city on Monday. Meanwhile, as per the set procedure, both sides underwent the mandatory COVID-19 test before taking off.
As per a report by ESPNCricinfo, all the players of the two sides have tested negative. Meanwhile, Sydney has seen a recent spike in the number of cases, almost forcing the Test out of the state of New South Wales.
However, as the Test is scheduled to go ahead in the city, Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed that the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) capacity crowd would be limited to just 25%. While it was earlier expected to be 50%, it would mean refunding and reticketing, which would be a tedious task for the officials, just three days before the Test begins.
Nick Hockley, CA's interim CEO, said, "In response to the public health situation in New South Wales, we are working closely with Venues NSW and NSW Health to put appropriate biosecurity measures in place for our staff, players, match officials, broadcasters and fans to ensure we play the third Test at the SCG safely. Reducing the capacity of the venue is crucial in achieving social-distancing requirements, and we sincerely thank ticket-holders for their patience, as we process refunds today, reconfigure the SCG seating plan to deliver these social-distancing measures and go back on sale."
The players' negative test would be a sigh of relief for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), especially after a video of five Indians, possibly breaching the bio-bubble sphere, went viral. The two boards then isolated the players (Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Shubhman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw), while further investigations are being conducted.
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Meanwhile, the final Test is slated to be held in Brisbane from next week. However, there are reports that the state of Queensland could lose its right to host after multiple reports suggested that the players might again have to undergo a strict 15-day quarantine following their arrival from Sydney, as the borders to Sydney have been sealed.
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Last Updated Jan 4, 2021, 12:24 PM IST