Coronavirus continues to affect countries globally, and while numbers in Australia continue to be very low, government regulations mean domestic cricket in the country will be severely disrupted.
Earlier this month, Cricket Australia confirmed changes to the domestic schedule, with the 50-over Marsh Cup competition delayed due to Covid-19 lockdowns in New South Wales and Victoria.
The men’s domestic season finally started last week, September 22nd, and South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland, and Tasmania can currently play fixtures without any restrictions.
However, teams from Victoria and New South Wales were still trying to figure out the best course of action as players, coaches, and umpires were unable to travel interstate without serving a 14-day quarantine.
“The cricketers won’t quarantine, they won’t come.Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck
And while it looked like case numbers were dwindling down, the emergence of four new cases in Queensland has prompted the authorities to announce new mandatory vaccination rules.
New South Wales recorded 863 cases and seven deaths on Tuesday, September 28, 2021, while Victoria confirmed a record 867 cases and four deaths.
Regulations in the country have also been tightened after a Victorian man allegedly used false documents to enter Perth and attend the AFL grand final on Saturday night.
Hayden Burbank, 49, and Mark Babbage, 39, have been accused of breaking border rules to sneak into Perth to attend the Melbourne Demons-Western Bulldogs premiership game at a packed Optus Stadium.
Earlier today, Western Australia police commissioner Chris Dawson revealed that both men had been tested for Covid-19 and one had returned an inconclusive result.
Following both these incidents, Australia has tightened down on measures taken to prevent an increase in numbers – a decision which is likely to result in all sporting activity, including domestic cricket, delayed until the numbers drop again.
The rise in cases also saw today’s fixture between Tasmania and Queensland postponed, with the Tasmanian team heading back to Hobart just 30 minutes before the start of play.
The disrupted domestic cricket season has given rise to fear among fans that the scheduled Ashes series, which is set to take place in Australia this year, might not go ahead as planned.
The England Cricket Board and Cricket Australia are reportedly still thrashing out details, but there are growing concerns about the conditions the England team will face on their trip to Down Under.
Tighter quarantine bubble conditions are being touted and there might not be any Ashes matches held in Perth this series due to the strict 14-day quarantine enforced by the West Australian government.
“We’ve had to do a lot of work to organise quarantine arrangements for the cricketers coming to Australia. We want the Ashes tour to go ahead. But I’d say there’s serious questions about whether or not there would be a Test match in Perth this summer. Having had the Tests in Sydney and Melbourne, there won’t be the time frames for quarantine to occur before coming to Western Australia. I would suggest that the possibility of a Test match in Western Australia is very slim” Federal Minister for Sport Richard Colbeck