India players cleared of Covid-19 amid probe into biosecurity breach

Indian players celebrate a wicket against Australia during day four of the second Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 29, 2020
Indian players celebrate a wicket against Australia during day four of the second Test at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 29, 2020
Image: Kelly Defina/Getty Images

India's cricketers and staff have been cleared of Covid-19 following reports some of the team's players breached health protocols while on tour in Australia.

Five India cricketers were placed in isolation over the weekend while the Australian and Indian cricket boards investigated allegations of a breach of biosecurity protocols after a video surfaced showing the players eating at a Melbourne restaurant.

The Indian cricket board (BCCI) said players and support staff were tested on Sunday.

"All tests have returned negative results," the BCCI said in a statement on Monday.

A Cricket Australia (CA) spokesman said Australia's players and staff had also been cleared after tests on Sunday.

The BCCI made no comment on the investigation into the five Indian cricketers.

According to strict biosecurity protocols set by CA, players are allowed to sit outside but not allowed to dine inside restaurants.

Australia and India are in the middle of a four-test series, being played in the backdrop of strict health measures, with both sides to travel to New South Wales for the third Test in Sydney from Thursday.

CA said on Monday the crowd at the Sydney Cricket Ground would be reduced to 25% capacity and tickets would be reissued.

Organisers had planned for a half-capacity crowd at the stadium, drawing criticism from some health experts who said it would place people under risk amid an outbreak of Covid-19 in Sydney.

While the Sydney match will go ahead, there was some doubt over the fourth Test in Brisbane, with reports India's cricketers were unhappy at the prospect of having to re-enter strict quarantine.

Queensland state, of which Brisbane is the capital, has closed its border with New South Wales after the outbreak in Sydney.

Agreement was reached to allow the players to fly to Brisbane for the fourth test on January 15, but they will have to quarantine while in the city.

Meanwhile, Australia fast bowler James Pattinson has been ruled out of the third Test against India in Sydney with bruised ribs after suffering a fall at his property, the team said on Monday.

Pattinson sustained the injury while on "approved leave" from the team's hub in Melbourne following the Boxing Day Test, which India won by eight wickets.

He would not be replaced in the squad and would be assessed further before the fourth and final Test in Brisbane, the team said in a statement.

Pattinson did not play in the first tests, with selectors sticking with the pace attack of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood.

The series is level at 1-1 ahead of the third Test which starts at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday.

- Reuters


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