Cricket Australia had to start working on providing Indian players basic amenities like access to the gym and the swimming pool in the hotel they are staying in Brisbane, about four kilometers away from the Gabba. This happened after BCCI put pressure on CA and reminded them of the “earlier commitment.”
However, two days have gone by, and the players are still without room service and housekeeping facilities, as CA began taking steps to ease restrictions and make facilities available to the Indian cricketers in Brisbane on Wednesday.
“It’s already around 8 pm here. Nothing has moved on that front (housekeeping, etc). We’re hoping things will be in place by tomorrow (Thursday) morning,” Team India sources told TOI.
They also told that BCCI’s top brass ended up arguing with CA officials as to how the Indian team was left on their own in the hotel, with them having to change bedsheets and clean toilets and ordering food from outside, with the kitchen, gym, and pool locked up.
The players were also asked to stay on the floor they were accommodated on, going back on the assurance of letting the players mingle and even go outside for a stroll to take some tension off.
BCCI acted when Indian team management made them aware of the situation and asked them to do something or put them on a plane back immediately.
“They (CA) were just being adamant about basic things. Now, the issue is not that the BCCI was asking them to go out of the way. These were commitments made by Cricket Australia prior to the start of the series. We’re hoping by tomorrow, everything is in place as requested,” top BCCI officials said.
However, team India sources said that two days have already gone by without amenities, and once the Test starts, players will be busy in that. They feel that the players and staff’s chances of cooling off and relaxing have gone now.
“Two days to go before the match begins. Once the Test begins, things will automatically change because players will spend most of the day at the stadium and a Test match routine, anyway, will occupy the players’ minds. They could’ve done this earlier itself. For 48 hours, they’ve ended up psyching out the players for no reason,” Team India sources added.
The team will struggle to put together a playing XI with multiple injuries and niggles. With Ravindra Jadeja unavailable and Jasprit Bumrah all but ruled out of Gabba Test, the team might look for inspiration in India’s performance on the ground on the 2003-04 tour.
The sources felt that BCCI president Sourav Ganguly needs to have a word with the team, as he had scored a memorable 144 in that Test, which India managed to draw.
“The last time India made a statement of sorts here at this venue was when Sourav Ganguly struck that memorable 144 at the start of the 2003-04 series. The cricketers should draw inspiration from that knock. In fact, Ganguly needs to have a word with the players to see if he can boost their confidence ahead of this all-important game,” say those tracking developments.
(Times of India inputs)