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Australia v India

Fan’s gesture goes wrong as Indian players reportedly investigated for possible bubble breach

India bubble
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Five members of the touring Indian team in Australia could be part of an investigation after being involved in a potential bio-bubble breach reportedly while interacting with a fan at a Melbourne restaurant on January 1.

Cricket Australia issued a statement saying that “they were alerted to a video post” of five players – Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw and Navdeep Saini eating at an indoor venue, and that they are investigating the incident along with BCCI to determine a potential breach. In the meantime, as a precautionary measure, the players have been placed under isolation.

On Friday, tweets by a fan went viral on social media, where he posted a video of the players enjoying a meal in Melbourne. Subsequent tweets by the individual mentioned that he had paid the bill on behalf of the players, following which Rohit Sharma interacted with him and Rishabh Pant “hugged” him, and the team members posed for a photograph.

While the fan earned plenty of support for his gesture on Twitter, and the story earned considerable traction on Indian media, there were concerns surrounding the safety of the players at a time when the teams have been placed in strict bio-secure bubbles due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Soon after reports of the possible breach came to light, the fan seemingly issued a clarification on social media, stating that Pant had not hugged him as tweeted earlier “as it was all said in excitement”, and insisted that there was “social distance maintained all through”.

The concerns around player safety are serious particularly in Sydney, the venue of the third Test of the ongoing series. With the recent surge in Covid-19 cases in Sydney, there were reports that Melbourne, the venue of the second Test, could host the third Test as well. However, after negotiations between Cricket Australia and authorities in Queensland and New South Wales, Sydney Cricket Ground was retained as the venue for the third game of the series, currently tied 1-1.

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