‘We all have a choice’: Langer plays down Test quarantine concerns

After more than a quarter of a century living much of his life out of a suitcase, Justin Langer doesn't see the fuss about a few extra nights locked up in the team hotel.

There has been reluctance within the Indian squad about returning to tighter biosecurity restrictions in Sydney, as well as in Brisbane when they travel there for the fourth Test next week.

Justin Langer at Australian training at the SCG on Tuesday.Credit:Getty Images

Both teams can't leave the luxurious eastern suburbs digs Cricket Australia has booked out for the duration of the match except for training and playing – but under CA's protocols they can go anywhere inside the hotel in Sydney.

In Brisbane next week, however, their movements inside their city-centre hotel will be dictated not by CA but by the Queensland government. Players will be able to leave their rooms but CA is still negotiating about the finer details.

Whatever the case, Langer, who, like the Indians, had to serve 14 days in quarantine when he arrived back in the country from a tour of England before the home summer, is phlegmatic about the demands on players and staff.

"We all have a choice, that’s one thing," the Australia coach said on Tuesday. "No one has got a God-given right to play for Australia and for their country. Every one of us can step outside of it. I have been very consistent in saying that if anyone can deal with it cricketers can because that’s how we live most of our lives anyway.

Langer and captain Tim Paine hit the SCG.Credit:Getty Images

"So, in the next little bit, we have arrived in Sydney, we have the main session [on Tuesday] and a top-up session [on Wednesday], which is consistent with what we always do, and then we are playing cricket. Then we arrive in Brisbane and do the same thing.

"It is not much different to what we are used to. It’s a little bit tighter than general but we will get on with it. We know how important this Test series is. India beat us here [in Australia] last time and we want to make amends for that and we want to keep moving our journey forward and the only way you can do that is by concentrating on what we can and that’s playing great cricket in this third Test match in Sydney."

CA officials have been dealing primarily with powerful Board of Control for Cricket in India secretary Jay Shah in communicating the details of the changing protocols, with BCCI president Sourav Ganguly having been hospitalised after suffering a mild heart attack in Kolkata.

Only 48 hours after it was feared India might refuse to play the Gabba Test if they were confined to hotel rooms, the top brass on the subcontinent appear to have got the message across to those on the ground that they must stick to the rules.

"I obviously can't speak for the BCCI but we're working towards the schedule and we're just very grateful for everybody involved, both sets of players," CA interim chief executive Nick Hockley said on Tuesday. We thank everybody for all their sacrifices."

As Acting NSW Premier John Barilaro was given a run-through of the CA and SCG's COVID-19 plan on a personal inspection of the venue on Tuesday, Nick Hockley defended the decision to keep the match in Sydney in the midst of a virus outbreak that has gripped the city over the past fortnight.

"We always said all along we want to play the schedule as we set out if it was safe to do so. Each Test match, as you know, has its own own unique character," Hockley said.

"We want cricketing fans supporting both sides all around the country to be able to experience international cricket."

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