On Saturday, some media reports in Australia tried to link the visit by some players of the Indian Test squad that include Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Navdeep Saini and Prithvi Shaw to a restaurant in Melbourne with a possible breach of Cricket Australia’s biosecurity protocols.
The reports were based on what an Indian cricket fan in Melbourne, Navaldeep Singh, who happened to be at the same restaurant, had shared on social media.
Singh, posted a video on social media of the cricketers sitting on a table behind him at the restaurant and claimed that he had cleared their $118.69 bill.
— Navaldeep Singh (@NavalGeekSingh) January 2, 2021
He had also written of a brief interaction with the players when they found out that their bill had been paid, and claimed at the time that Rishabh Pant had “hugged” him.
This sent the Australian media into a tizzy and they tried to overplay the incident and falsely claimed that the cricket boards of the two countries were looking into the matter and an investigation had been ordered. However, no such investigation has been ordered by the Indian cricket board.
But later in the day, the Indian fan posted a clarification on Twitter, and rubbished such reports.
“Clarification – Pant never hugged me it was all said in excitement we maintained social distance all thru:) Apologies for miscommunication @BCCI @CricketAus @dailytelegraph,” the Indian fan posted on Twitter.
Cricket Australia’s strict bio-security guidelines permit the players to eat out at restaurants, but they must be seated in an outdoor area.
There were no indications of a breach of bio-security protocols in any of the photos shared by the Indian fan, and the Australian media reports are probably just mind games that the media from Down Under are accustomed to playing during such high-profile tours.
With a rise in the Covid-19 cases in some states of Australia, the situation is said to be very dynamic, with the occurrence of lockdown possible in some areas.
However, the third Test between Australia and India, scheduled to begin on Thursday, will go ahead at the Sydney Cricket Ground with attendance at 50 per cent capacity.