BCCI President Sourav Ganguly wants a shorter than mandated quarantine period for the Indian team when it travels to Australia for a Test series this year as “we don’t want the players to go that far and sit in hotel rooms for two weeks.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the rules of the game, which restarted with the ongoing Test series between England and the West Indies. Players have to be in quarantine for two weeks and be tested for the virus before they can take the field in empty stadiums for now.
But Ganguly is hoping that the Indian team will get some relaxation during its tour of Australia, comprising four Tests, including a day-nighter, later in the year.
“…we have confirmed that tour. In December we will be coming. We just hope the number of quarantine days get reduced a bit,” Ganguly told India Today show ‘The Inspiration.’
“Because we don’t want the players to go all that far and sit in hotel rooms for two weeks. It is very, very depressing and disappointing. We are looking at that, the quarantine thing,” he said.
“And, as I said Australia and New Zealand have been in good position except Melbourne. So from that point of view we will be going there and hopefully the quarantine days will be less and we can get back to cricket,” he added.
Australia has over 9,000 confirmed cases and more than 7,500 of them have recovered. The number of fatalities stands at 107.
Ganguly also said that the Australia series will be career-defining for skipper Virat Kohli.
“My presidentship tenure, I don’t know whether I will survive by this December or not. But his captaincy tenure is going to be a yardstick. This will be a milestone series. I have been in touch with him, telling him ‘you have got to stay fit. You haven’t played cricket for six months…’,” he said.
“You have got to make sure your best bowlers are ready for the tour and fit. Whether it’s (Mohammed) Shami, whether it’s (Jasprit) Bumrah, whether it’s Ishant, whether it’s Pandya, they have to be at the top of their match fitness when they land in Australia,” he added.
The former India captain also spoke about the many challenges that he has encountered in ensuring that the Board continues to function amid the pandemic.
“This is unreal. For four months, we haven’t been to the office in Mumbai. This is my seventh or eighth month as BCCI president out of which four months have been taken away by COVID,” he said.
“So we have been working on video conferencing but that’s what it is. I can’t change it. I have to accept it and try and do the best I can in this situation,” said Ganguly.
Asked about the BCCI petition in the Supreme Court which seeks an extension of tenure for him and Secretary Jay Shah, Ganguly said, “I don’t know whether we will get an extension or not. If we don’t, we don’t, I move on to something else.”
Ganguly and Shah’s tenures end this month as per the Lodha Committee administrative reforms, which put a cap on the reigns of office-bearers.