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COVID cluster forces Shield stars into isolation

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Australia’s Test Captain among a host of Sheffield Shield players told to self-isolate as state governments react to the latest outbreak.

Test skipper Tim Paine and young gun Cameron Green are among the cricketers who have been forced to self isolate as a fresh coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide cast a shadow on the first Test.

Cricket Australia rejigged its schedule last month, opting to start the four Test series between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 17.

There is no suggestion at this stage that Cricket Australia (CA) is considering shifting that marquee match.

“Our biosecurity and operational teams are closely monitoring the situation and working to put in place the necessary plans to ensure players,  coaches and staff are available for upcoming fixtures,” a CA statement said on Monday night.

“CA has always maintained that it would need to be agile as border conditions change and we thank the players, coaches and staff involved for their flexibility and all parties for their support.

“We will continue to provide updates as the situation evolves and look forward to hosting a safe and successful summer across all formats.”

However, id the COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide’s northern suburbs continues to grow then contingency options may need to be looked at.

Adelaide’s 17 cases have already created logistical headaches for the governing body, which was also intending to start a block of KFC BBL games in the City of Churches on December 28.

The most pressing issue relates to limited-overs squad member Green, who was slated to fly from Perth to Sydney this weekend.

The Marsh Sheffield Shield hub in Adelaide wrapped up last Wednesday.

Western Australia’s (WA) squad flew into Perth on Saturday, delaying their departure to avoid a stint in quarantine, but now have been told they must spend 14 days at home as part of the state’s hardline response to the pandemic.

Green will require an exemption if he is to travel to Sydney before the ODI series opener on November 27, with CA still hopeful.

Allrounder Ashton Agar is free to travel to Sydney when he finishes his own self-isolation this Thursday having returned from the Shield hub earlier than his state teammates. The other WA members of the 18-player  squad, Marcus Stoinis, is quarantining in Sydney after returning home from the IPL.

Paine, ODI squad member Matthew Wade and Tasmania teammates have also been told to self isolate at home, as per that state’s health advisory for travellers who recently returned from South Australia.

“Cricket Australia has thought of every contingency,” spearhead Pat Cummins said.

“Whatever we have to do, we’ll find a way.

“If we can fly over to the UK and play in a bubble over there, it shows we’ll find a way.

“Whatever it takes.”

WA, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory have already imposed quarantine measures on those travelling from Adelaide.

Adelaide Strikers are slated to start their BBL season in a Hobart hub and may need to rejig plans.

Adelaide Oval was set to be at half capacity for the day-night Test, but that now appears unlikely.

Some players had been upbeat that Australia’s decline in community transmission of COVID-19 would allow them to enjoy more freedom this summer than first feared, but that is also now in doubt.

“The priority is once we get there that we can play cricket. Getting out, going for a coffee or whatever it is, that’s a bonus,” Cummins said.

“We’ll wait and see. It might be a case where it’s different in different states.

“You just have to be open minded.

“One great thing that Cricket Australia have managed to do is find ways to get our partners and families into that bubble, so hopefully that makes it a bit easier than maybe some of the other tours have been.”

Former Australia coach and current Brisbane Heat boss Darren Lehmann said cricketers will make every effort to keep the summer schedule rolling for the “good of the game”.

“All players in the AFL, the NRL, made it work and their staff and families did,” Lehmann told reporters on Monday.

“I can’t see that being different in cricket.”

India Tour of Australia 2020-21

Australia Test squad: Tim Paine (c), Sean Abbott, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Will Pucovski, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Swepson, Matthew Wade, David Warner

Australia ODI & T20 squad: Aaron Finch (c), Sean Abbott, Ashton Agar, Alex Carey , Pat Cummins (vc), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Moises Henriques, Marnus Labuschagne, Glenn Maxwell, Daniel Sams, Kane Richardson, Steven Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

India Test squad: Virat Kohli (c) (first Test only), Ajinkya Rahane (vice-captain), Rohit Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Prithvi Shaw, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Hanuma Vihari, Shubman Gill, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Rishabh Pant (wk), Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Siraj

India ODI squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Shubman Gill, KL Rahul (wk), Sanju Samson (wk), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Mayank Agarwal, Ravindra Jadeja, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur.

India T20I squad: Virat Kohli (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (wicketkeeper), Shreyas Iyer, Manish Pandey, Hardik Pandya, Sanju Samson (wk), Ravindra Jadeja, Washington Sundar, Yuzvendra Chahal, Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami, Navdeep Saini, Deepak Chahar, T Natarajan

Dettol ODI Series v India

First ODI: November 27, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT

Second ODI: November 29, SCG, 2.40pm AEDT

Third ODI: December 2, Manuka Oval, 2.40pm AEDT

Dettol T20 INTL Series v India

First T20: December 4, Manuka Oval, 7.10pm AEDT

Second T20: December 6, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT

Third T20: December 8, SCG, 7.10pm AEDT

Tour matches

Australia A v India A, December 6-8, Drummoyne Oval

Australia A v Indians, December 11-13, SCG (day-night)

Vodafone Test Series v India

First Test: December 17-21, Adelaide Oval, 3pm AEDT (day-night)

Second Test: December 26-30, MCG, 10.30am AEDT

Third Test: January 7-11, SCG, 10.30am AEDT

Fourth Test: January 15-19, Gabba, 11am AEDT

*The matches and travel remain subject to any relevant government restrictions or requirements. 




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