Perth Scorchers batter Nick Hobson re-lives rollercoaster week from COVID to long-awaited return

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Jordan McArdleThe West Australian
Nick Hobson couldn’t help but think of worst-case scenarios during the back-end of his COVID isolation period.
Camera IconNick Hobson couldn’t help but think of worst-case scenarios during the back-end of his COVID isolation period. Credit: The West Australian

Nick Hobson couldn’t help but think of worst-case scenarios during the back-end of his COVID isolation period.

The Perth Scorchers batter, who celebrated ending a 1067-day wait between Big Bash games with a brilliant knock in Tuesday’s win over Melbourne Stars in Geelong, probably would have played a lot earlier if not for a positive test on New Year’s Day.

With Mitch Marsh and Josh Inglis called up to Australia’s Ashes squad, Hobson was poised for a long-awaited opportunity in the Scorchers’ middle order before COVID threw those plans into disarray.

“There were a few worst-case scenario thoughts going through my head for a bit there,” Hobson told The West Australian.

“I tested positive a day or two after they (Marsh and Inglis) were called into the Test team and I thought they would be available for the game at Coffs Harbour on Sunday which was when I was coming out of isolation.

I thought the timing couldn’t have got any worse.

“I thought the timing couldn’t have got any worse and that an opportunity might have passed me by for the tournament to be honest.

“But I guess with the landscape we’re in at the moment, everything is changing and particularly towards the end of that week, I just tried to stay at positive as I could and prepare to play and lucky enough that happened on Tuesday.”

The 27-year-old Claremont-Nedlands run machine has dealt with poor injury timing before in the Big Bash, with his last contract two summers ago ruined by a tournament-ending ankle injury thanks to a boundary-rope incident before game one.

Hobson was the perennial unused X-Factor substitute this tournament after being a regular drinks runner for WA in the Marsh One-Day Cup until the opportunity came about this week when Cameron Bancroft was deemed a close COVID contact.

He made the most of it, hitting 46 off 36 balls opening the batting and putting on 83 for the second wicket with English import Laurie Evans to propel the ladder-leading Scorchers to their 10th win of the season.

GEELONG, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 11:  Nick Hobson of the Perth Scorchers hits out to be caught by Haris Rauf of the bowling of Adam Zampa of the Melbourne Stars during the Men's Big Bash League match between the Perth Scorchers and the Melbourne Stars at GMHBA Stadium, on January 11, 2022, in Geelong, Australia. (Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)
Camera IconNick Hobson. Credit: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

“It was just really nice to be back out there playing,” Hobson said.

“I think this year I’ve had six or seven X-Factor sub roles and a few 12th-man jobs with the Marsh Cup team as well, so just to be back out there playing was the best part of it.

“We had a great day down in Geelong and keeping that momentum going as a team was the most rewarding bit.”

Hobson detailed just how much the virus knocked him about the first few days before a make-shift workout regime of YouTube-inspired body-weight exercises got him through the second part.

He only managed two brief net sessions between getting out of isolation and making his return.

“I was probably knocked out for about three days, it’s just mainly fatigue and mild flu symptoms,” Hobson recalled.

“I didn’t really have the energy to do a lot. I had a look at my phone and I think I was averaging about 100 steps a day which wasn’t great.

“Once I turned the corner after a few days, I felt a lot better.

“Being a COVID-positive case, I couldn’t get leant any exercise equipment so it was mainly body-weight stuff and the wonders of YouTube to find plenty of home exercises.”

Fellow Scorcher Colin Munro has missed two games after also testing positive for COVID.
Camera IconFellow Scorcher Colin Munro has missed two games after also testing positive for COVID. Credit: Steve Bell/Getty Images

Evans, who was player of the match against the Stars with a quickfire 69 which included five sixes, wasn’t surprised with Hobson’s eye-catching return.

“Hobbo has been working hard in the nets trying to get a game and be ready at any point. He’s probably hit the ball better than anyone in the squad in the nets, so it’s no surprise to see him come out and hit the ball as hard as he did today,” Evans told Fox Cricket.

The Scorchers have two regular-season matches left before finals, starting with Adelaide Strikers at Adelaide Oval on Friday.

If they win both, the minor premiership is theirs.

Hobson should get another chance to cement his spot with Bancroft and New Zealand import Colin Munro still in isolation and Marsh and Inglis not likely to return until the final match against Brisbane at the Gabba.

“I’d love to get another chance against the Strikers on Friday but the way everything is, you just never know,” Hobson said.

“We just want to keep our momentum going into finals.”

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