The Queensland government has reduced the crowd capacity for the final Test, which starts on Friday, to 50 per cent while making masks mandatory for any fans moving around the venue.
The status of the series finale has been uncertain for more than a week after unnamed sources from within India’s camp pushed for it to be moved from the Queensland capital.
At the centre of their concerns were fears over the strictness of hotel quarantine, with the push known to have frustrated Australia’s players.
The fourth Test at Brisbane’s Gabba will go ahead despite tensions escalating after Indian players reportedly refused to quarantine (pictured Indian players at training session in Sydney)
The Queensland government has reduced the crowd capacity for the final Test at the Gabba, which starts on Friday, to 50 per cent while making masks mandatory for any fans moving around the venue (pictured crowd at third Test at SCG)
Pampered Indian stars were reluctant to cross the border as they didn’t want to be treated like ‘animals in the zoo’, Cricbuzz reported last week.
The source said there was frustration over quarantining as the players had already spent two weeks in quarantine when they arrived in Australia and had expected to be able to move freely across the country.
‘We aren’t keen on going to Brisbane if it means being stuck in the hotel again, except for going to the ground,’ the source said.
‘Instead we don’t mind being in some other city, playing both Test matches there to complete the series and returning home.’
CA has been insistent all along the Test will go ahead at the ground as planned, after receiving positive feedback from the Board of Control for Cricket in India bosses.
CA has been insistent all along the Test will go ahead at the ground as planned, after receiving positive feedback from the Board of Control for Cricket in India bosses (India’s head coach Ravi Shastri is pictured)
Australians players were growing frustrated by the lack of confirmation to whether or not the fourth Test would go ahead (pictured Australian player, David Warner)
A spectator is seen wearing a face mask at the Sydney Cricket Ground after capacity was reduced due to the coronavirus pandemic
On Sunday night they received the most important tick of approval.
CA said on Monday that India’s touring party confirmed with them they are happy to play in Brisbane and agree to the city’s quarantine protocols.
‘The fourth Test will be at the Gabba, as planned,’ interim CA chief executive Nick Hockley said on SEN Radio.
‘On the basis of yesterday’s discussions we are full steam ahead to play the fourth Test at the Gabba.’
Before the confirmation was given, Australian spinner Nathan Lyon hit out telling players to ‘suck it up’ and stop complaining.
‘I’m not even thinking about Plan B or not playing at the Gabba… 100 per cent planning on going to Brissie and sticking with Plan A. We’ve heard nothing (to the contrary),’ he said.
‘There’s a few people from both squads who have been in a bubble for close to six months now but in my eyes it’s a very small sacrifice.
‘Let’s just suck it up and get on with it. And stop complaining.’
Meanwhile, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has confirmed Brisbane’s three-day lockdown, triggered after the UK variant of Covid-19 had been detected in the city last week, would end at 6pm (local time) on Monday.
There were again no new local cases of the virus on Monday but the government has opted to put a cap of approximately 18,000 fans per day for the fourth Test.
Tickets will be refunded and resold to ensure correct seating.
‘The Gabba will be filled to half the capacity and masks are mandatory for entering, leaving and moving around the stadium,’ Palaszczuk said.
India’s Cheteshwar Pujara arrives with teammates for a training session at the Sydney Cricket Ground last week
Indian cricket player Mohammed Siraj (centre) claimed on Sunday he was on the receiving end of racist remarks during day four of the third test between Australia and India
‘But if you are sitting there at your seat, you won’t have to wear your mask because you are outside.
‘Most people will be coming by public transport anyway, where you will have to wear your mask.’
Crucial in the discussions between CA and BCCI are believed to be signed assurances from Queensland Health that players will be allowed to mingle within the hotel.
Also, police will not patrol their floors, given CA has hired the entire accommodation complex with players able to roam within.
There had been fears about what the UK strain being detected in one hotel worker in Brisbane could mean for the Indian team after they leave.
However, those concerns now appear to have subsided.
CA bosses have spoken with their Indian counterparts almost daily for the duration of the tour, with quarantine making it the trickiest ever played in Australia.
Hockley met with officials from within India’s camp on Saturday evening over the boundary rope, before the final confirmation was given on Sunday night.
Siraj stopped play to make a formal complaint to officials about some spectators in the bay behind his fielding position at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday
It comes as day four of the third cricket test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday was interrupted as India’s Mohammed Siraj stopped play and told umpires he was targeted with racist remarks by fans.
Six spectators were escorted from the ground and Cricket Australia issued an apology to the India team and said it would ‘prosecute the matter to its fullest extent’.
However nearby fans said there was ‘nothing abusive’ about the comments from the ejected fans, and it was ‘just bantering’.
India captain Virat Kohli, who is back home to be with his expectant wife, was incensed by the incident and took to Twitter to demand more action against crowd abuse.
‘The incident needs to be looked at with absolute urgency and seriousness and strict action against the offenders should set things straight for once,’ Kohli said on Twitter.
‘Racial abuse is absolutely unacceptable. Having gone through many incidents of really pathetic things said on the boundary lines, this is the absolute peak of rowdy behaviour. It’s sad to see this happen on the field.’
Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity and Security Sean Carroll insisted the matter will be dealt with.
‘The abuse of cricketers by crowd members is not acceptable,’ he said. ‘We thank the Indian team for their vigilance in reporting today’s incident, which we are now in the process of investigating.
‘It is most regrettable that an otherwise excellent test match contested in tremendous spirit by two friendly rivals has been tarnished by the actions of a small number of spectators over the past two days.
‘As hosts, we once again apologise to the Indian team.’
Australia last lost at the Gabba in 1988, with their undefeated run of 31 matches at the ground the longest for any team at any venue in world cricket.
Six men were ejected from the Sydney Cricket Ground on Sunday and escorted from the venue by police