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Cricket Australia sends ODI squad to Sydney, BBL players to NSW North Coast amid Adelaide COVID outbreak

Australia’s one-day international squad members have rushed to Sydney, and Big Bash League players have fled Adelaide en masse, as Cricket Australia tries to plot a path around a growing COVID-19 cluster.

The Adelaide Strikers have flown out for a pre-season camp in Coffs Harbour, while Adelaide-based players from other BBL sides will also now call the New South Wales North Coast home.

Players were enjoying a week off when they got the call to urgently pack and prepare to relocate, with some making the dash back home from Kangaroo Island.

Adelaide’s coronavirus outbreak, which comes one month out from the first Test between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval, has also prompted Cricket Australia (CA) to alter travel plans for its limited-overs squad.

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White-ball paceman Kane Richardson, who recently welcomed his first child with wife Nyki, has remained at home in Adelaide.

But players from Queensland, Western Australia and Tasmania — who have been forced to self-isolate as per their states’ rules regarding anybody who recently travelled from Adelaide — touched down in Sydney long before their planned arrival on Sunday.

CA chief executive Nick Hockley thanked players and staff for their understanding regarding changes to travel schedules and “their commitment to ensuring the summer of cricket is a huge success”.

“I would also like to thank the various leadership groups across Australian cricket for coming together over the past 48 hours and taking quick, decisive action,” Hockley said.

“CA has taken a proactive approach.”

CA is also likely to rejig the itinerary of its Australia A squad, which includes Test captain Tim Paine, as it seeks to avoid more logistical headaches before a tour game in Sydney starts on December 6.

Paine and other high-profile teammates were part of the Sheffield Shield hub in Adelaide, which wrapped up last week.

No Shield player visited any of the locations flagged by South Australia Health.

At this stage there is no suggestion that Adelaide’s pink-ball Test could be shifted away from the city, but that could easily change if the COVID-19 outbreaks grows.

Twenty cases are now linked to the original cluster, with another 14 considered at high risk of infection.

SA Premier Steven Marshall said he was “hopeful the cricket will go ahead”, but that he was yet to speak with anybody at CA.

Wicketkeeper Alex Carey is among Australia’s Indian Premier League contingent already training and quarantining in Sydney.

But the South Australian’s wife Eloise and son Louis were part of the COVID-19 chaos.

They opted to jump on a plane and rush to Sydney, wanting to ensure they could see the 29-year-old for the first time since he departed for a tour of England in August.

“Unfortunately the news out of Adelaide wasn’t great over the last 24 hours,” Carey told reporters.

“The [Strikers] boys have been able to get back to Adelaide, pack their gear up and get on a flight out as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) cancelled all games under its umbrella for the next fortnight as per the state’s recent restrictions on sport.

AAP


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