Brisbane Boil-over

Ravi Shastri. Picture: India Today.

The Australian players won’t say it, but this series has reached breaking point for the home side.

The high level of unreasonable arrogance from the Indian cricketing camp since the beginning of the series is tipping patience levels over the edge.

The behaviour could be likened to a toddler who doesn’t get what it wants at the supermarket, but if enough noise is made, thinks it will eventually get that treat that it wants.

And of course, while the BCCI is the most powerful governing body in world cricket, that power won’t have much effect when it comes to Australian government negotiations.

The well documented scenes on Thursday morning of Indian Cricket’s Head Coach Ravi Shastri entering the Sydney Cricket Ground off the team bus without a face-mask was a symbol of the team’s disdain towards the Australian bio-security measures.

An action as if to say ‘we thumb our nose at your rules’ – all the while the instruction for all patrons attending the SCG are to wear one or face fines.

The current Indian cricketing contingent has demonstrated it’s ignorance toward Australia’s border climate at present, behaving with the mentality that once 14 days of quarantine has been served down under, you’re free to travel wherever you want.

Illustrated best by the three reported instances in the last two months where Indian players have broken CA’s bio-secure bubble, and on all three occasions players failed to wear the required face-masks.

By breaking the bubble, they’ve broken a trust Cricket Australia cannot afford to lose with state governments around the country.

CA’s promises of a tight, secure bubble for the players and staff is what has helped pave the way for travel exemptions to be approved all summer long, allowing this series to occur (so far) issue-free.

But now due to recent COVID hotspots in New South Wales, and the Queensland government’s decision to enforce a 14-day quarantine upon arrival, the Indian cricket team have decided to take their defiance one step further.

While completely understanding their justified frustration with almost six months straight of hotel quarantining, an official request has been placed on CA’s desk to move the final Test match venue away from Brisbane.

The intentions have become crystal clear in the last seven days after reports that the Indian camp will not be flying to Queensland, in protest of their wishes to stay out of another shortened stint of quarantine.

Is it an act of selfishness? Is it an act of fatigue? Or is it yet another flexing act which the BCCI have become so well known for?

The request follows a similar one from before the team even landed in Oz, where they demanded the first Test be moved away from the Gabba, and instead shifted to Adelaide.

So with history this summer of major fixture requests to best position their national team, the governing body’s bratty nature is starting wear on the authorities.

Queensland’s Shadow Health Minister, Ros Bates said “If the Indians don’t want to play by the rules, don’t come.” – A statement suggesting that not abiding by the rules is not an option in this case.

And while it could be advantageous in the short term for Cricket Australia to stick with the Gabba as the venue for the final Test, it would have a catastrophic effect on the relationship long term with the BCCI.

In addition, it would also have a detrimental impact on the financial end too – with Cricket Australia already in dire straits post-COVID, with it’s survival hinging on a full and successful Indian Test summer.

Broadcasters from India bring in approximately $300 million, enough to keep Australian cricket afloat, for now.

So while stuck between a rock and a hard place, it’s clear a decision to leave the Indians hanging out to dry could do more damage than good.

Australian Test veteran Nathan Lyon has already suggested his opposition is best to just “suck it up and get on with it” with one match to play, while captain Tim Paine has backed up his star spinner by alluding to “tension starting to boil under the surface” and that “it’s starting to grind a few people.”

As the saying goes, let the chips fall as they may – but while the Indian powers have any involvement in the matter, it’s clear they’ll happily strain any amount of relationships to have the outcome fall in their favour.

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