Australian cricketer Steve Smith has copped some shattering news ahead of the Boxing Day Test, with new coronavirus restrictions preventing him from a long-awaited reunion with his wife.
Smith has been separated from his wife, Dani Willis, since August 31 when he travelled to England for a white-ball series.
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Following that was a stint in the United Arab Emirates for the Indian Premier League season, followed by quarantine in Australia prior to India’s visiting tour.
Much of that time has been spent within Cricket Australia’s bio-secure training environment.
Until now, partners had been allowed to join players in the bubble after a three-day quarantine, but the coronavirus outbreak in Sydney’s Northern Beaches has put paid to those plans.
Cricket Australia have been forced to change the rules allowing partners into the bubble as a result, meaning Willis will have to wait even longer to reunite with Smith, despite dashing into Melbourne from Sydney before Victoria closed its borders to all residents of Greater Sydney.
Just days earlier, Smith had taken to Instagram to celebrate the fact that he was just seven days away from seeing his wife for the first time in months.
Instead, he’ll spend Christmas with his Test teammates as they prepare for the annual Boxing Day classic at the MCG.
“114 days down and only 7 to go! It’s been a long 4 1/2 months away from my wife … but I can’t wait for her to join me in Melbourne next week just in time for Christmas!” Smith wrote in what is now an utterly heartbreaking post.
CA board meeting to decide SCG Test fate
Cricket Australia's board is meeting to decide the fate of the SCG Test as Sydney grapples with the northern beaches COVID-19 cluster.
The third Test is due to start in the NSW capital on January 7, but CA is dealing with multiple complications to ensure the blockbuster series with India continues as scheduled.
The MCG is in contention to host a second Test of the summer for the first time in almost 40 years.
The Australian and Indian teams are in Melbourne preparing for the Boxing Day Test and could remain in Victoria into the new year.
Crash Craddock thinks the Sydney Test should be moved to Melbourne if fans can't attend. pic.twitter.com/yuogUrB6w8
— Garry and Tim (@SENBreakfast) December 24, 2020
But NSW on Wednesday launched a bold bid to host two Tests in January, claiming it could help Cricket Australia avoid any issues crossing the closed Queensland border.
Under the idea, the SCG would host the third Test as planned, as well as the series finale a week later, meaning players, officials and broadcasters would not need a border exemption.
The fourth Test is set down for the Gabba on January 15, potentially just four days after the conclusion of the Sydney match, if it runs for the duration.
Australia coach Justin Langer praised the work being done behind the scenes to continue the series under COVID-safe conditions.
"I know there's a lot of work being done. I know that is incredibly complex," he said.
"It's not just a matter of saying, 'oh, that sounds like a good idea': there's broadcasters, so many stakeholders who are part of the decision.
"I'm sure (the CA board) will come up with the right decision for the game."
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