Former India spinner Pragyan Ojha has slammed the Australian media for stirring up the bio-bubble breach, calling it a ‘gimmick’ to unsettle the touring party. The Indian team was dragged into a controversy after five players including vice-captain Rohit Sharma were accused of breaching bio-bubble protocols in Melbourne.
Rohit, Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini were asked to isolate after they were spotted eating inside a restaurant last week. The episode also led to a social media fiasco where the visitors came under scrutiny from Australian media. According to the bio-security protocols set by Cricket Australia (CA), players are allowed to sit outside but not allowed to dine inside restaurants.
Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya, after returning to India, were also dragged in the controversy after they were pictured without masks in a baby shop. The two had visited the store after the white-ball leg of the tour.
Reacting to the controversy, Ojha said that the Australian team hasn’t been able to take the MCG defeat. The Indian unit, led by stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, thumped the hosts in Melbourne to bounce back from Adelaide horror and level the four-Test series 1-1.
“Everybody knows Australians are bad losers. They are not able to take it (MCG defeat) despite five of our main players missing. Indian team is doing so well. They never expected the Indian team to win. They thought they could win, they were taken by surprise,” Pragyan Ojha said on Sports Today.
“I feel it’s a big gimmick to take the pressure off Australia and try to get under the skin of the Indians. They don’t know we exactly know what they are trying to do. The Indian team is relaxed, they know what to do and focused on the last 2 Tests,” he added.
Ojha also backed Rohit and said that the Indian opener must be knowing about the protocols in Australia.
“Rohit Sharma, he has had a 14-day hard quarantine, before that training at the NCA. I am very sure he is not a fool to come and just breach the protocols. Yes, at times, things look different. I am very sure, they know what the protocols are and they follow them,” said Ojha.
Meanwhile, the Indian team and support staff members have tested negative in Covid-19 tests. The five isolated players were also allowed to travel with the team ahead of the third Test in Sydney.
“Playing members of the Indian Cricket Team and support staff underwent an RT-PCR Test for COVID-19 on January 3, 2021. All tests have returned negative results,” the BCCI said in a statement.