Indian cricketers test negative post bubble breach controversy

Indian cricketers test negative after COVID-19 bubble breach / Photo: Cricket Australia 

All Indian cricketers and support staff tested negative for COVID-19 on Monday after five players breached the bio-secure bubble set for players on New Year’s Day, officials confirmed.

The five players – Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Shubnam Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini – were found dining inside a restaurant in Melbourne on Friday after a fan shared their video on social media.

Meanwhile the authorities in Victoria require people to dine outside and maintain social distancing as it is battling to stem a cluster of virus cases bound to a wider outbreak in New South Wales, the neighbouring state.

The five players were allowed to continue training but told to stay apart from the broader Indian squad, with the entire tour party tested on Sunday.

The Indian Cricket Board, which has not said whether the five will be punished, on Monday issued a brief statement confirming the players tested negative.

"Playing members of the Indian cricket team and support staff underwent a test for Covid-19 on January 3, 2021. All tests have returned negative results," it said.

Australia´s team and staff were also tested and they too came back negative.

Both teams headed to Sydney Monday for the third Test starting Thursday, with the four-Test series level at 1-1.

They will play in front of a 25 percent capacity crowd -- around 10,000 - after it was slashed from 50 percent following a backlash on social media and from some experts, given the COVID-19 situation in the city.

There are currently an estimated 273 active cases in Australia, although many are travelers in quarantine.

It means all tickets will be refunded and fans must re-apply.

Tony Shepherd, head of Venues NSW which manages the stadium, said significant measures had been taken to ensure the safety of fans.

"There are extensive protocols being enacted for the upcoming Test, including increased cleaning, customer service and security staff, along with dedicated social distancing marshals," he said.

The fourth and final Test is in Brisbane next week. 

Aus vs Ind: Indian cricketers test negative post bubble breach controversy