Big Bash League: Adelaide’s clash with Sydney Thunder to proceed despite COVID concern

Headshot of Chris Robinson
Chris RobinsonThe West Australian
The Thunder will face the Strikers as scheduled.
Camera IconThe Thunder will face the Strikers as scheduled. Credit: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

The New Year’s Eve Big Bash League clash will proceed as scheduled despite COVID chaos rocking the league, including ruling out four players from the Adelaide Oval match.

The Sydney Thunder were shaken by the news that four of their players had tested positive on the morning of the match, leaving the fixture against Adelaide in doubt.

But Cricket Australia confirmed the clash would go ahead.

“Firstly, our thoughts go to everyone in the community affected by the spread of COVID-19 in recent weeks, including members of our Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder squads,” CA’s BBL general manager Alistair Dobson said.

“We thank the Strikers, Thunder and SA Health for their hard work today to ensure this match can proceed.

“We will continue to work closely with our clubs, relevant governments, broadcasters, partners and venues to ensure the season continues safely and successfully throughout January.”

The four Thunder players who tested positive are isolating, but the rest of the squad are free to play after returning negative PCR tests.

Further scheduling headaches are on the cards for Cricket Australia (CA), which is also reeling from news that Test batter Travis Head has the virus.

The Stars have revealed seven players and eight staff members now have the virus, casting extreme doubt on whether their upcoming games will take place as scheduled.

Glenn Maxwell’s side are slated to face Perth in Melbourne on Sunday then tackle the Melbourne Renegades on Monday, an MCG match that would ordinarily attract one of the biggest crowds of the regular season.

But the Stars’ contingent with coronavirus have started a seven-day stint in isolation, as per government guidelines.

CA faces the prospect of further fixture rejigs and more cases popping up among players and staff as community transmission continues to grow.

The governing body is keen to stage as many BBL games as possible in the school- holiday period, and ensure that the season wraps up on January 28.

Elsewhere, the Renegades have been forced to omit James Pattinson from their 15-man squad for Saturday’s game against Hobart.

Pattinson is awaiting the outcome of a PCR test.

The Stars players who tested negative on Thursday will be tested again on Saturday, with general manager Blair Crouch saying the health of safety of the squad and staff was the club’s priority.

“We are providing all the support we can to players, staff and their families. I’d like to thank the medical teams at both Cricket Victoria and Cricket Australia for their ongoing guidance,” Crouch said.

The BBL news came as the AFLW rejigged its fixture for rounds one and two.

The catalyst for the changes was Western Australia’s border restrictions, rather than the fact that five members of Gold Coast’s AFLW program have tested positive to COVID-19.

However, further coronavirus cases among the Suns would cast doubt on their round-one match against GWS proceeding on January 9.

- with AAP

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