'What the hell': Aussie legend lashes out at cricket 'debacle'

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·Sports Reporter
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Ian Healy has slammed the abrupt cancellation of Queensland's Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania was cancelled at the last minute due to coronavirus cases in Brisbane. (Photo by Scott Barbour - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images/Getty Images)
Ian Healy has slammed the abrupt cancellation of Queensland's Sheffield Shield clash with Tasmania was cancelled at the last minute due to coronavirus cases in Brisbane. (Photo by Scott Barbour - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images/Getty Images)

Cricket great Ian Healy has described the abrupt cancellation of a Sheffield Shield match at the last minute earlier this week as an 'absolute debacle'.

In a stunning series of events which Healy suggested 'disrespected' the integrity of the competition, Cricket Tasmania instructed their team to return home after the announcement of four new cases of Covid-19 were discovered in Brisbane.

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It was feared players would be caught up in border closures or have spend two weeks in quarantine upon returning to Tasmania.

Queensland Cricket (QC) chief executive Terry Svenson first learned of what he termed a "rushed" and "panicked" decision via a groundsman at Ian Healy Oval.

Svenson told SEN he then called CA counterpart Nick Hockley, who at that stage was also unaware the game had been aborted.

The Shield debacle comes as England captain Joe Root cast further doubt on the Ashes series scheduled to take place in Australia this summer.

"We should still be playing," Svenson told Healy on the latter's radio show.

"We have to be better at making decisions like this and not panicking.

"That decision to postpone and ultimately cancel the match was done before we heard from the Premier and CHO (chief health officer).

"There's a flaw in the decision-making process.

"There has to be a sign-off process. Surely if there's a material change in the game, has to be the CEO of Cricket Australia and the relevant state CEOs.

"That's what I've appealed to Nick to do and Nick is aligned with my view."

Healy was stunned by the visitors' haste.

"Tasmania decides 'we're out' ... can you imagine the (Canterbury) Bulldogs flying home and deciding not to play a (NRL) game without Peter V'landys knowing? It's unbelievable," he said.

"What the hell were Tasmania thinking?"

Cricket concerns over unpredictable state virus restrictions

The climate in which every major sporting code in Australia has had to walk a tightrope of changeable restrictions from state to state has not gone unnoticed internationally, leading Svenson to speak out against the situation.

The England squad has continued to raise concerns about a lack of clarity surrounding any potential restrictions on the team while they are in Australia.

Players and team management have yet to learn the exact conditions under which the five-Test series will take place, with those who have young families particularly concerned about the potentially stringent rules.

Talks between the England and Wales Cricket Board and their counterparts at Cricket Australia are ongoing and it is hoped a specific set of plans could be in place ahead of a squad announcement next week.

Root, who has two young children, refused to say if he would be available to lead England's bid to regain the Ashes in a series scheduled to start in Brisbane on December 8.

England captain Joe Root says players are still needing more information about potential restrictions they should expect upon arriving in Australia for the Ashes. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
England captain Joe Root says players are still needing more information about potential restrictions they should expect upon arriving in Australia for the Ashes. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

"I feel it's so hard to make a definite decision until you know," Root said on Tuesday. "It's a little bit frustrating but it's where we are at.

"From a player's point of view we just want to know what the position is and then we can make decisions."

The 30-year-old, named the Professional Cricketers' Association men's player of the year, added: "I'm desperate to be part of an Ashes series. I always am. It's that one series as an England player that you want to be involved in and that will never change.

"The position I'm at in my career, it could be the last opportunity I get to go, so of course it's something you're desperate to do, desperate to hopefully make history over there and be part of something very special."

Although the fifth Test is scheduled to take place in Perth, it could be moved to another venue given the mandatory 14-day quarantine upon arrival in Western Australia.

With agencies

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