Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant among five Indian players that have been put in isolation as the BCCI and Cricket Australia probe a potential breach of protocol.

Five India Test stars are isolating as they await an investigation over potentially breaching their biosecurity bubble in the lead-up to the New Year’s Test. Including Rohit Sharma and Rishabh Pant are in isolation after a video emerged of the “eating at an outdoor venue” in Melbourne on New Year’s Day. Besides Rohit and Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini, have all been separated from both the India and Australia squads.

The five Indian players, however, will be able to train “in accordance with the strict protocols that have been put in place to ensure the ongoing safety of all members of the Indian and Australian squads,” Cricket Australia said in a media release. Both the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and the Australian board have also launched an investigation for a potential breach of the biosecurity protocols.

The five players were spotted by an Indian fan on Friday eating at the Secret Kitchen restaurant at Chadstone Shopping Centre in Melbourne.

The fan, Navaldeep Singh, generously paid their $118.69 bill – the “least I can do for my superstars” – according to his now-viral posts on social media.

Singh wrote that Pant “hugged” him afterwards, an incident which could concern Cricket Australia and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) given strict biosecurity protocols.

But he on Saturday tweeted: “Clarification – Pant never hugged me it was all said in excitement we maintained social distance all thru:) Apologies for miscommunication”.

The biosecurity restrictions for this tour are believed to allow for players to eat at outdoor restaurants, but the footage of the players shared by Singh appears to show the group eating indoors.

A Cricket Australia statement said: “The BCCI and CA are investigating the matter and seeking to determine whether the outing constitutes a breach of biosecurity protocols.

“In the interim, on the advice of the Australian and Indian medical teams, the aforementioned players have been placed in isolation as a precaution. This will include separating the group of players from the broader Indian and Australian squads when travelling and at the training venue.”

A fan had posted a video on Twitter of the players seated indoors at a restaurant, also claiming that he had paid the bill for their lunch

After initially claiming that Pant had “hugged” him, the fan later clarified that the Indian wicketkeeper-batsman “never hugged me it was all said in excitement”.

Clarification – Pant never hugged me it was all said in excitement we maintained social distance all thru:) Apologies for miscommunication @BCCI @CricketAus @dailytelegraph
— Navdeep Singh (@NavalGeekSingh) January 2, 2021

Rohit Sharma had joined the India squad recently in Melbourne, having completed his 14-day quarantine in Sydney.

Rohit had flown back to India from the UAE after leading Mumbai Indians to their fifth IPL trophy.

After completing his rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy, having suffered a hamstring injury, he reached Australia last month but had to quarantine for 14 days.

Australia vs India four-match Test series is currently level at 1-1. The third Test is scheduled to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), starting on January 7.


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