As Queensland went another day with zero Covid-19 cases, former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting has said that Indians are just making excuses to avoid finishing the series in Brisbane. India had earlier expressed their reluctance to travel to the venue due to the rise in Covid cases in the state. “If the decision is to go ahead with a match in Brisbane, the Indian team will be there,” India legend Sunil Gavaskar said on the Seven Network.
Ponting on the other hand wants the visitors to “get on with it”.
“It looks like they are trying to find an excuse not to go to Brisbane,” he further said. “You have signed up for the tour to play the Test matches. It’s not ideal for anyone, or the Australians, if they go to Brisbane (to be) locked down in a hotel.
“The Australians have actually been in a bubble longer than the Indians have.
“We didn’t hear anything about these Indian players worrying about quarantines or lockdowns in the middle of the IPL, did we?”
Now the concern for the BCCI is to make the Test squad return home early, right after the Gabba match ends. India is then scheduled to play a Test series at home against England starting February 5. “The Indian team will play the fourth Test in Brisbane,” an unnamed senior BCCI official told the Times of India.
“But BCCI has told CA that arrangements for the team’s return to India should be made in a way that the team doesn’t have to stay back unnecessarily after the Test ends.
“The first flight back should be arranged.”
Meanwhile, half-centuries to Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith lifted Australia to 182-4 at lunch on day four, giving the hosts a lead of 276 runs in the third cricket test against India. Labuschagne made 73, his second half century of the match, and Smith continued his welcome return to form with a patient and unbeaten 58 on Sunday to place Australia in an increasingly dominant position against a short-handed India lineup.