The fourth test will be held in Brisbane
Sydney, 11 January
The Indian cricket team will leave for Brisbane on Tuesday as uncertainty over hosting the fourth and final Test in Queensland’s capital from 15 January ends after Cricket Board of India (BCCI) secretary Jay Shah’s assurance to Cricket Australia (CA) has gone. In Brisbane, however, only 50 per cent of the capacity audience will be allowed to come.
The BCCI wrote to the CA in the context of giving relief to the stringent segregation rules in Brisbane as it caused the Indian team to remain in the hotel, which the players objected to.
CA interim CEO Nick Hawkley said in the statement, “I would like to thank the Queensland Government for their cooperation and willingness to work with the CA and BCCI to conduct the fourth Test as planned.”
“But more important is to follow a plan in which the safety and well-being of the players, match officials and the community is a top priority,” he said.
In the last one week, BCCI sources confirmed to PTI that they never demanded a change of venue but had said that two consecutive stringent segregation are not ideal for the mental health of the players.
Players are now expected to have a biologically safe environment similar to the Indian Premier League where they can meet each other inside the hotel.
The problem arose when Queensland closed its border to people arriving from New South Wales in Sydney in view of new cases of Covid-19 infection.
Indian players were exempted from this but had to face stringent segregation rules. Uncertainty over the match increased when the city received a new Covid-19 infection case from Britain and a three-day lockdown was announced last week.
After the situation became clear about the match, CA announced the audience’s potential.
“Following the advice of Queensland Health and the Queensland Government, Cricket Australia and Stadiums Queensland have been working together since 15 January to ensure the safety of people arriving for the Brisbane Test and during this time in Gaba,” the CA release said. Only 50 per cent of the total audience capacity will be accepted.
“The seating plan will cut viewership according to social distance rules, match tickets will now be resold and current ticket holders get full money back which includes all expenses including ticket insurance,” he said.
Queensland’s Sports Minister Sterling Hinchliffe said the whole province was excited about organizing this big match. Hinchliffe said, “Gaba’s fast and bouncy pitch makes it a strong fan favourite for Australian cricket.”
“We are excited to welcome the cricket teams of India and Australia here for the Test match. It has been decided to allow 50 per cent spectators to the capacity of the stadium,” Gaba general manager Mark Jundans said at a press conference in Brisbane.
He said, “People have to wear masks. Anyone who is without a mask will not be given admission.”