India captain Ajinkya Rahane dispelled his counterpart Tim Paine’s observation that “tension is starting to boil under the surface,” in the wake of rumours that India might boycott the series if the fourth Test match remains in Brisbane, as per the schedule, as well as reports that some of the Indian players are unhappy with the strict regulations in Sydney.
Rahane asserted that his side is “well prepared and wants to play some good cricket,” while he refused to comment on speculations regarding the pull-out threat if Brisbane remains the venue for the fourth Test.
Earlier, Paine had said he would not be surprised if the fourth Test would indeed be shifted from Brisbane due to India’s “power” in the cricket world. “I wouldn’t say [there’s] frustration, I’d just say a bit of uncertainty because when you hear things like that coming, particularly from India, who we know hold a lot of power in world cricket, it’s likely that it could happen,” he said.
This was after certain reports saying that the Indian cricketers, some of who have been in bubbles since the IPL, were unhappy with the movement curbs in Sydney. It would be more rigorous in Brisbane, where they will be allowed to leave their hotel rooms only for match or training.
The background, thus, could infuse some tension into what has been a series bereft of incidents and the usual needling. “It’s boiling away, there’s some stuff starting to happen, a bit of chat starting to happen, so I think this Test is going to be fascinating not just from a cricket point of view. I think there’s a bit of tension starting to boil under the surface. I think it’s starting to grind a few people, so we’ll see how it goes,” the Australian captain had told the press.
So would the apparent calm break away and tension usher in?
Rahane doesn’t think so. “It’s about being in the moment and playing some good cricket. First thing first, we are not complaining about anything and we are just focussed on the game. Just want to start well. We as players are just focussing on this Test match and management, they will make the decision,” he said, blunting a question on whether the team would return home after the Sydney Test if Brisbane remains the venue for the final Test.
He admitted the challenges quarantine and bubble-confinement posed, but said his players are adjusting to it. “We know that life outside in Sydney is completely normal but players are in quarantine, which is a challenge. But we have to face it. We are not complaining about anything. We are just focussing on tomorrow’s game. And just want to start well tomorrow again,” he said.
Paine said it would not bother him where the Test match will be played. “We’re not too fussed. We’re not buying into where the Test is being played. As far as we’re aware it is at the Gabba, but as I said in the team meeting the other day, we couldn’t care less. If you rang us up and said it’s in Mumbai tomorrow, we’d get on a plane and play it. That’s the way we are looking at it.”
At the same time, Cricket Australia’s CEO Nick Hockley dismissed speculation that India is weighing up a boycott. “We’ve had nothing formal from the BCCI to suggest anything other than they’re supportive. Both teams have wanted to play the schedule as we’ve set out. We speak to our counterparts at the BCCI daily,” he said.
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