A new controversy sprang up recently as a section of Australian media alleged that Indian cricket stars Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya had breached the secure bio-bubble on 7 December during the Australia tour. Both the players had visited a store in Sydney and left the country after 20 days. Reports came alleging that the two had broken the bio-secure protocols.
Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya reportedly visited the Baby Village, Bondi Junction. The owner of the store, Nathan Pongrass, has now put to rest the allegations against the players. He said that both of them were quite respectful and followed all the protocols that were in place at the time.
“They came in and spent a little bit of time. At that stage, there were no restrictions in New South Wales. We wanted to give them gifts but they wanted to pay for everything. They were just so generous with their time. They spent time talking with our staff. They were just lovely people,” Pongrass told Australian journalist Norman Kochannek for Sports Today.
“They were kind enough to take a couple of photos with our team, which wanted to share the experience with family members. We put that on social media to just show we were being proud that they had chosen to visit our store,” the owner added.
“It’s really a shame what has happened in the media”
Nathan Pongrass, the owner of the store Virat Kohli and Hardik Pandya reportedly visited, has responded to the bio-bubble breach allegations against the two.
He clarified that the cricket players maintained their distance. “Our staff was not allowed to touch them and shake hands with them. Even though there were no restrictions at the time, they were very much keeping their distance,” he said.
As per a report from Reuters, the masks were made compulsory at indoor venues in New South Wales from January 3rd after a fresh COVID-19 outbreak in mid-December. “I don’t think they were masks. As I said before, at that time, there weren’t many new cases in New South Wales. If you looked through the streets, one in 50 people were wearing masks. Older people were wearing and even some pregnant ladies weren’t wearing masks in Sydney,” Pongrass said.
“That was the experience we had. We had a very positive experience. It’s really a shame what has happened in the media because of it,” he signed off.
India and Australia will next lock horns with each other on 7 January in Sydney for the third Test in the four-match series. This will be an important clash as both the teams are levelled 1-1.