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Five Indian players put in isolation after visit to Melbourne eatery sparks row

Five Indian players put in isolation after visit to Melbourne eatery sparks row

As many as five members of the Indian cricket team currently touring Australia have been put in isolation after allegedly breaking biosecurity protocols put in place to fight the Covid-19 outbreak by going out to dine in a Melbourne restaurant.

Vice-captain Rohit Sharma, wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, openers Shubman Gill and Prithvi Shaw and fast bowler Navdeep Saini sparked a major controversy after a video went viral on social media showing them enjoying food at a Melbourne restaurant. The players have been separated from the Indian and Australian squads but will still train "in accordance with the strict protocols that have been put in place to ensure the ongoing safety of all members of the Indian and Australian squads," said a Cricket Australia statement on Saturday night.

"The BCCI and CA are investigating the matter and seeking to determine whether the outing constitutes a breach of biosecurity protocols," Cricket Australia said in a statement. "In the interim, on the advice of the Australian and Indian medical teams, the aforementioned players have been placed in isolation as a precaution. This will include separating the group of players from the broader Indian and Australian squads when traveling and at the training venue."

The video of the five players sitting at a table in a Melbourne restaurant was posted on the Twitter account of Navaldeep Singh. Singh suggested on Friday he paid the bill for the table then hugged Pant, although on Saturday he claimed there was no hug and players kept their distance. The four-Test series between Australia and India is being played amid a backdrop of biosecurity rules, which will get stricter when the squads travel to Sydney on Monday.

Players and staff are permitted to leave the hotel but must dine outdoors during the Melbourne leg of the tour. CA had come down hard on Brisbane Heat after Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence's biosecurity breaches earlier this season, fining the club $50,000 ($20,000 suspended) and each player $10,000 ($4,000 suspended).

England paceman Jofra Archer's biosecurity breach in 2020, when he stopped at his house while the squad travelled between hotels, resulted in a one-Test ban. The third match of the four-Test series between both the team starts in Sydney from January 7. Australia won the first Test in Adelaide before India levelled the series by winning the Boxing Day duel.