Cricket: Question marks over Australia/India test series after boycott threats

The schedule for Australia's test series against India is under threat again, with the tourists reportedly unhappy at the prospect of re-entering strict quarantine for the fourth test in Brisbane.

The third test in the four-match series is due to start at Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday, after Cricket Australia decided not to move the match after an outbreak of COVID-19 cases in the city's northern beaches.

On Monday, both squads will fly to New South Wales, which reported eight new locally transmitted cases of the virus and ramped up social-distancing measures on Sunday.

Queensland state has closed its border with New South Wales and although the players will be allowed to fly to Brisbane for the fourth test on January 15, what level of restrictions they will face after their stay in Sydney is uncertain.

Citing sources within the touring party, Australian media reports India's players, many of whom have been in some form of quarantine for six months, would refuse to travel, if they are subjected to a hard lockdown.

An India team spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Indian players underwent 14 days of strict quarantine after arriving in Australia, but have since enjoyed more freedom, while preparing for and playing matches in Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney and Melbourne.

But there are still some restrictions and five Indian players have been placed in isolation, after a video showed them eating inside a Melbourne restaurant on New Year's Day.

The Australian and Indian cricket boards are investigating the alleged breach of biosecurity protocols, with precedent suggesting the players might be fined for their actions.

Sydney, which at one stage looked like losing the third test to Melbourne, would be the most likely beneficiary, if the fourth match was moved from Brisbane.

Acting New South Wales Premier John Barilaro has told reporters that the Government is focused on staging the third test safely in front of a crowd of up to 20,000 fans.

"We're going to commit to the test we have," he says. "If an opportunity arises post that, we'll take that opportunity then."

Batsman Matthew Wade says Australian players had been told the protocols would be stricter in Brisbane, but rejected any uncertainty over the schedule.

"There's a lot of talk out there, but for us, as a group, and my position personally, we'll go Sydney and play the SCG, and then we'll go the Brisbane and play the GABBA," he says.

"Until the powers-that-be knock on the door and tell us that's going to change, we just roll onto the next game."