The Indian cricket team has forced its governing body to intervene after arriving at a Brisbane hotel without room service or house keeping ahead of the Gabba Test.
Already reluctant to travel to Queensland because of its stricter COVID protocols and the recent threat of the highly-contagious UK strain of the coronavirus, the visitors arrived from a testing but triumphant draw in Sydney to find some of their fears had been confirmed.
An unnamed member of the tourists’ travelling party described the hotel as a “prison for all practical purposes” in an interview with the Times of India.
“We are locked up in our rooms, have to make our own beds, clean our own toilets. Food is coming from a nearby Indian restaurant which will be given to us on our floor. We can’t move out of the floor that’s been designated to us,” the source said.
The hotel swimming pool, gym and cafes were all off-limits to the players when they arrived, according to the source.
But after the BCCI took up the issue with Cricket Australia, conditions have changed.
“The board has been told that the team has been given access to all the lifts in the hotel. They can use a gym too. It has been assured that there will be room service and house keeping. The team has also been given a team room where they can assemble and have meetings. Only the swimming pool is not open for use,” a senior BCCI official told The Times of India.
“The players are exhausted and have retired to their rooms. But they would like to go out for a stroll later in the day. You can’t expect a player to keep doing up his room during this kind of tour. BCCI is always by the side of its players and will ensure they get the best treatment.”
While their performance on-field has remained incredibly spirited, off-field it has appeared the Indian team can’t wait to leave Australia.
It only needs to draw the Fourth Test to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy but continues to lose players from its first-choice team.
After serious doubt was raised over star fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s availability for the Gabba, a fresh report suggests there’s other new injuries.
Ravi Jadeja (broken thumb) and Hanuma Vihari (hamstring) have been officially ruled out after copping injuries in Sydney while a BCCI source said it would be “a miracle” if Bumrah played after appearing to tear an abdominal muscle.
Mayank Agarwal, who was dropped for the Third Test but favoured to replace Vihari, is also in doubt after being hit on the arm in a net session.
Rishabh Pant (hit on elbow in Sydney), Ravi Ashwin (back issues) and Cheteshwar Pujara (finger injury) are all expected to play but are requiring pain killing medication.
“Most of the players are on sedatives,” a team source told the Times of India. “They look exhausted. The team is trying to stay upbeat. There will be no intense gym sessions. Even the nets over the next two days will be very light … and optional. The team management doesn’t want to risk any other players collapsing before the final Test.”