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Ricky Ponting calls out India’s COVID excuse for Gabba Test

Queensland has recorded another day of zero COVID-19 cases as Ricky Ponting argued that India were trying to find an excuse to avoid finishing the four-Test cricket series at the Gabba as planned.

There has been widespread speculation about India’s reluctance to travel to Brisbane.

The angst was triggered by concerns about restrictive biosecurity protocols and the fact that state government, rather than Cricket Australia (CA), will be in charge of arrangements.

Queensland’s capital entering a three-day lockdown, in response to a quarantine hotel cleaner testing positive for the UK strain of COVID-19, did little to quell unease.

But Brisbane’s stay-at-home edict is set to expire on Monday night, while Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk reported no new coronavirus cases on both Saturday and Sunday.

“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, commentating alongside Gavaskar, called on the tourists to “get on with it”.

Queensland has recorded another day of zero COVID-19 cases as Ricky Ponting argued that India were trying to find an excuse to avoid finishing the four-Test cricket series at the Gabba as planned. Credit: Getty

“It looks like they are trying to find an excuse not to go to Brisbane,” Ponting 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?”

The chief concern of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) now reportedly relates to ensuring the Test squad can return home as soon as possible when the game at the Gabba ends.

India's Tet XI huddle
Ricky Ponting believes India’s Test players are trying to find an excuse not to go to Brisbane. Credit: AP

India’s next Test series starts at home against England on February 5.

The BCCI wants to do everything possible to give their players a break before they enter another biosecurity bubble after a taxing tour of Australia.

“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.”

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