Matthew Wade has said that Australia fully expects to play the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at its scheduled venue – The Gabba in Brisbane – after reports emerged that India are not keen on travelling to the city in view of quarantine proposals. The Australian state governments have imposed border restrictions, including the one between Queensland and New South Wales, which means that the players will have to go another quarantine period upon their arrival ahead of the fourth Test starting January 15.
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India have already served their 14-day mandatory quarantine period and sources withing the team believe they don’t want more restrictions imposed on the mentally worn-out players, which is why India might prefer the fourth Test also being played at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Wade, however, informed that the Australian team is not aware of any such development and that the current plan is for the Brisbane Test to go ahead as planned.
“That’s the first I’ve heard of it to be honest,” 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.”
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Wade elaborated on the matter, saying that players from India and Australia were always aware that it wouldn’t be the smoothest of rides going by what’s transpiring in the country. The Indian contingent has whole-heartedly complied with Cricket Australia and the state governments in terms of the protocols laid out. Sydney recorded a fresh spike in Covid-19 cases not too long ago which had raised doubts over the venue of the third Test before the SGC was finally offered the green light.
“If that’s what the Government are going to make us to do play a game at the Gabba, we’re willing to sacrifice,” Wade said. “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.”
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Wade further added that Australia would rather not play consecutive Test matches at the Sydney Cricket Ground. One of the reasons could be their unbeaten record at the Gabba since 1988, especially since the last time India toured Australia where they won the series 2-1, Brisbane did not host a Test match.
“Our record is very good there and we tend to play good cricket there,” 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.”