India's tour of Australia has been always been a closely-contested one in the past with tension boiling between the two sets of players. However, this time around, barring Matthew Wade-Rishabh Pant sledging in the second Test, we are yet to see a heated exchange of words that has been a trademark of the Border-Gavaskar series.
Many have blamed this 'friendly-contest' between the two modern rivals on the Indian Premier League, which houses scores of Aussie stars every year. However, now when the stakes are high with the series locked at 1-1 ahead of the third Test in Sydney, Oz skipper Tim Paine has admitted that tension has started to boil between the two outfits.
“I think it’s boiling away,” Paine told reporters on Wednesday. “There’s some stuff starting to happen, there’s a bit of chat starting to happen. I think this Test is going to be fascinating, not just from a cricket point of view, but also I think there has been tension starting to boil over the surface with a lot of unnamed sources coming out from their camp saying where they want to play the fourth Test and where they don’t want to go.
“I think it’s starting to grind a few people. We’ll see how it goes.”
There have been quotes by unnamed BCCI officials saying that India are unhappy with the extra-quarantine days they need to serve before the Brisbane Test and are asking for a change of venue. This has prompted some former players to say that Indians are just looking for excuses not to play at Brisbane as it has been the hosts' happy hunting ground for a long time.
When Paine was asked if he is frustrated by the calls for shifting the venue for the final Test, he said there's a feeling of uncertainty as India hold a lot of power in world cricket and could force a venue change.
“I wouldn't say frustration,” Paine said. “I'd just say a bit of uncertainty because when you hear things like that coming - particularly from India, who we know hold a lot of power in world cricket - it's likely it could happen.
“We're not buying into where the Test is being played. As far as we're aware, it is at the Gabba, but as I said in the team meeting the other day, we couldn't care less. If you rang us up and said it's in Mumbai tomorrow, we'd get on a plane and play it. That's the way we are looking at it.
“It’s been unusually tame the start of this series and I think it’s because both teams are just happy to be back playing Test cricket. There has been such a big break and there is a lot of respect between the two teams, there’s no doubt about that, but it’s very competitive sides," he explained.