First cricket Test in jeopardy after virus outbreak hits Adelaide

Australian Associated Press
·3-min read
SA Premier Steven Marshall (pictured left) at a press conference and the Adelaide Oval (pictured right).
SA Premier Steven Marshall (pictured left) is contending with a growing number of coronavirus cases in Adelaide and the Adelaide Oval (pictured right) where the first Test against India will be held. (Getty Images)

The Australian cricket fraternity is pledging to do everything possible to keep playing as a fresh coronavirus outbreak casts a shadow on the first Test and forces Tim Paine and his Tasmania teammates to self isolate.

A cluster of COVID-19 cases in Adelaide - the venue of the series-opener between Australia and India - has prompted other states to close their borders with South Australia.

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The governments of Western Australia, Tasmania and the Northern Territory have announced border closures with Queensland to impose a 14-day hotel quarantine on all visitors from Adelaide from 11.59pm on Monday.

Victoria declared SA a hotspot but opted against shutting the border.

Adelaide is scheduled to host the series-opening Test from December 17.

The city is then due to be a base for some BBL franchises for a block of games starting on December 28.

The Sheffield Shield hub in Adelaide wrapped up last Wednesday but domestic players have still been affected by the SA outbreak.

Paine and Tasmania teammates have been told to self isolate at home, as per that state's current health advisory for travellers who have returned from SA since November 9.

Former Australia coach and current Brisbane Heat boss Darren Lehmann said cricketers will make every effort to keep the summer schedule rolling.

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

"So I can't see that being different in cricket, making it happen for the good of the game."

South Australia’s rising coronavirus cases

SA announced the new COVID-19 cluster on Sunday, with the number of cases quickly growing to 17 on Monday.

"First and foremost, we hope that they get to the bottom of that in South Australia and they contain that really well and then we can move forward to the hubs, whatever that may look like," Lehmann said.

"You have just got to be flexible. That's the 2020 model, the way everyone has been able to move quite quickly on the hop."

Tim Paine keeps wicket during day two of the Sheffield Shield match.
Tim Paine has been told to self-isolate after returning from South Australia. (Photo by Daniel Kalisz/Getty Images)

Like other sports, cricket would be guided by advice from health officials, Lehmann said.

"Fingers-crossed that is only a small cluster and they get on top of that because the health and wellbeing of people is paramount," he said.

"But the game itself, Cricket Australia - the AFL did a great job, the NRL did a great job - and I'm sure CA will do a really good job of managing through those processes because it is a logistical nightmare.

"We have just seen it work in Adelaide with the Shield so I can't see a problem with the BBL happening as well."

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