India players rounded off what was one of the toughest weekends for them on Australian soil on this tour by testing negative for the coronavirus. In the midst of unwanted media scrutiny after five India players — Rohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill and Navdeep Saini — had gone to a restaurant in Melbourne, they have all shown that all necessary protocols were followed.
“Playing members of the Indian Cricket Team and support staff underwent an RT-PCR Test for Covid-19 on January 3, 2021. All tests have returned negative results,” the BCCI said.
Even as the Australian media keeps talking about an investigation of an alleged breach in the bio-bubble protocol by the five Indian players, the Indian team has shut the outside world as it focuses on the third Test between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground, starting from January 7.
Speaking to ANI, sources in the know of developments in the team said that reports in the media is not a concern for the players and they are leaving no stone unturned to prepare for the third Test as the series is level at 1-1.
“The boys have shut the outside world and they are not even looking at who is saying what. We are backing our belief that no protocol was broken and that is that. We are now looking at the third Test and the focus is on the next game at the SCG. We want to make it 2-1 by the time we leave the SCG at the end of the Test match,” the source said.
A visit to a restaurant on Friday by India vice-captain Rohit, Shaw, Pant, Gill, and Saini has been blown out of proportion after a fan in a series of tweets claimed that he had paid the bill of the Indian players at the restaurant. He also said that he ordered extra food so could he watch the players eating in the restaurant. He went on to add that he had been hugged by Pant.
But on Saturday, he pushed out a clarification saying: “Pant never hugged me it was all said in excitement we maintained social distance all thru J Apologies for miscommunication @BCCI @CricketAus @dailytelegraph (sic).”
The Indian team is clear that it was a simple case of following all protocols and there was no reason to worry.
Sources in the know of developments in the team had said on Saturday morning that the players had followed all safety protocols and there was no need for any investigation as the fan had himself done a U-turn and said that there was no physical contact after initially claiming that Pant had hugged him.
“The boys had just gone out to a restaurant to get some food. They followed all the necessary protocols and their temperature was checked and proper sanitization was done before they sat on the table. There is no need to make an issue out of this. As for the whole question of a fan being hugged by Pant, the fan has himself confessed that he had said that out of excitement,” the source had pointed.
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