Australia batsman Matthew Wade has said the hosts “fully expect” to play the fourth Test at the Gabba in the wake of the recent reports suggesting that Team India are reluctant to travel to Brisbane in case they have further restrictions imposed on them. The visitors are reportedly concerned that they might be pushed back into hard lockdown once again.
And in order to avoid another strict quarantine, the Indian team has made it clear it would like to play the fourth and final Test at a different venue. Cricket Australia said on Sunday morning that they had not formally been approached over the matter, but the two national boards do talk daily. And while nothing is clear as of now, Matthew Wade has made it clear that the hosts prefer to play the final Test in Brisbane.
The left-handed batsman also stated that Australia would prefer to go to Brisbane for the fourth Test even if there is a quarantine-based situation. Matthew Wade said that the hosts want to stick to the schedule that was originally rolled out.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of that to be honest,” Matthew Wade told reporters on Sunday.
“We all knew we were going to get some curveballs and this is just one of them. The schedule has been rolled out and we’d prefer to stick to that. I would expect just to go to the Gabba regardless, (even) if that is more of a quarantine-based (situation), we fully expect to be going to Brisbane to play the Gabba Test,” he added.
At present, both the teams are in Melbourne and will fly to Sydney on Monday to continue preparations for the third Test, before flying to Queensland for the fourth and final match. Teams have so far been granted some freedoms during the tour, including being able to eat outdoors at venues and leave hotels. But Cricket Australia is likely to impose stricter restrictions in the wake of recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Moreover, the states have also closed their borders. According to the current rules, members of the public cannot enter Queensland from Sydney without serving another two weeks in quarantine. While harder restrictions will be in place in Sydney, Cricket Australia boss Nick Hockley said last week Brisbane’s Test would be played under “quarantine conditions”. It means teams will predominantly only be able to leave their hotels to train and play, as part of an exemption for them to cross the closed border from greater Sydney into Queensland.
“If that’s what the Government are going to make us to do play a game at the Gabba, we’re willing to sacrifice. I knew coming into it, and a lot of people knew coming into it, it wasn’t going to be an ideal situation and if something went south, we were going to have to make some more sacrifices along the way. As a group we understand that and we’re ready for the challenge,” said Matthew Wade.
Another aspect that would have prompted Australia to back Brisbane as the venue for the fourth Test despite the quarantine is their fine record at the famous venue. Australia have not lost at the Gabba since 1988. India had not played any game in Brisbane on their successful tour two seasons ago. Following the series, Australia skipper Tim Paine had talked about the same.
“Our record is very good there and we tend to play good cricket there,” Matthew Wade said of the Gabba.
“Two games back-to-back at the SCG would not be something we’d want to do, we’d be much more comfortable playing the schedule (as planned), there’s no secret we love the Gabba and we want to get there,” he added.
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