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R Ashwin reveals Indian players were not allowed to share lift with Australian players in Sydney

New Delhi, Jan 25: Senior India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin opened up about the discrimination they were subjected to during their stay in Sydney and revealed that the Indian players were not allowed to share the lift with their Australian counterparts during the third Test held at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). The Tamil Nadu spinner admitted the behaviour of the authorities towards the visitors was something they found "too difficult to digest".

Ajinkya Rahane-led Indian side locked horns with the Aussies at the SCG in the third Test of the recently-concluded four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy and throughout the tour, players and support staffs of both the teams stayed in a bio bubble due to threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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"We reached Sydney, they locked us with severe restrictions. There was a unique thing that happened in Sydney. It was strange, to be honest. Both India and Australia were in the same bubble. But when Australian players were in the lift, they won't allow Indian players inside it," Ashwin said.

The seasoned spinner made the revelation during a YouTube video chat with India's fielding coach R Sridhar. Ashwin added, "Seriously guys? We felt so bad at that time. We are in the same bubble. But you get into the lift and you can't share the space with another person staying in the same bubble. It was too difficult for us to digest.

"We are all in the same bubble, but you get into the lift and share the lift space!" The Test was also marked by allegations of racial abuse against Indian pacers Mohammed Siraj and Jasprit Bumrah. In the matches that he had played before missing the series-deciding fourth Test due to a back injury, Ashwin contributed significantly and helped India stage an incredible turnaround that saw the visitors claim the rubber 2-1.

Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari -- both fighting injuries -- batted for more than five hours on the final day of the Sydney Test to help India achieve an improbable draw and keep the series locked at 1-1. In the final Test at Brisbane's Gabba, India chased down a record target of 328 to beat Australia by three wickets and break the home team's unbeaten run of 32 years at the venue.

 
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Story first published: Monday, January 25, 2021, 19:25 [IST]
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