Australia captain Tim Paine on Wednesday admitted that “tension is boiling under the surface” ahead of the third Test after unnamed sources from the Indian camp expressed apprehensions about playing the final match of the series in Brisbane from January 15.
There have been reports that due to strict health protocol rules in the state of Queensland, the Indian team need to undergo another round of hard quarantine in Brisbane during the Test match with initial protocol not even allowing players to venture out of their rooms.
After the Indian board took up the matter, it is understood that players can mingle in a bio-bubble inside the hotel and the Test match is on despite some sharp comments from a couple of state politicians which didn’t go down well with the BCCI.
“I think it’s boiling away, some stuff is starting to happen,” Paine said during virtual media interaction when asked why there has been less than usual chatter other than the Rishabh Pant-Matthew Wade banter at the MCG.
“It will be fascinating not just from cricketing point of view but also the tension boiling under the surface with lot of unnamed sources coming out from their camp as to where they are going to play their fourth Test, where they don’t want to go ….So let’s see how it goes,” the Australian skipper said.
Paine admitted that there will be an element of uncertainty associated with the Brisbane Test if India, a powerful cricket board, wants to press the pressure button.
Asked if he is frustrated with the turn of events, Paine replied: “No inside frustration but a bit of uncertainty because when you hear things like that coming particularly from India, which holds a lot of power in world cricket, it’s likely that it could happen.”
As far as his team is concerned, Paine is clear that it hardly matters if the Test is played in Brisbane or Mumbai.
“For us, we just want to be clear on this Test match, we know the protocols and we know what’s expected of us, we will focus on that this week and then whatever happens next week happens and we will adapt to it.
“We are not too fussed as to where the Test is being played and we couldn’t care less if you rang up and said that it’s in Mumbai. We will get onto a plan and we will go and play.”
He however agreed that it has been “unusually tame” start to the series with very minimal verbal banter between the two sides.
“I like it. It’s because both teams are just happy to be back playing Test cricket after such a big break. And there’s a lot of respect between the two teams no doubt about that. Very competitive sides.”
Paine also refused to answer whether the alleged breach of protocol which Cricket Australia failed to prove, would have affected the Indian players.
“I am not very sure and you will ave to ask the Indian guys. It hasn’t affected us and we have spoken about it again. This year the protocols are different and you don’t know whether others teams are breaching or not, we can’t control. We can control how we go about it.”
On a spectator at the MCG last week, testing COVID-19 positive and SCG also welcoming 10,000 for the ‘Pink Test’, Paine said that he would like to believe the authorities.
“Not my area of concern. There are people making these decisions at government level and there are health experts, they are all working together to do the best that they possibly can.
“Obviously, we want to get people inside the gates, give people chance to watch international cricket and if they are saying that safe number is 10,000, certainly I am no one to question that. There are people with medical backgrounds and we trust people in those positions making the right decisions. We will go with whatever we are told.”
The third Test of the series will be aired on Sony Six, Sony Ten 1 and Sony 3, from January 7, 4.30am onwards.