South Australia’s coronavirus contact tracers have suddenly become key players in the four-Test cricket series that is due to start in a month’s time.
Test skipper Tim Paine and young gun Cameron Green are among the self-isolating cricketers scrambling to change plans amid the logistical chaos created by a fresh coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide.
Cricket Australia rejigged its schedule last month, opting to start the four-Test series between Australia and India at Adelaide Oval on December 17.
There is no suggestion at this stage that Cricket Australia is considering shifting that marquee match.
However, if the COVID-19 cluster in Adelaide’s northern suburbs continues to grow then contingency options may need to be looked at.
CA was also intending to start a block of BBL games in the City of Churches on December 28.
The most pressing issue for the governing body on Monday was an overhaul of travel plans for Australia and Australia A squads plus BBL franchise Adelaide Strikers.
It is believed the organisation is seeking to bring forward the departure of numerous players and staff, which would ensure the national white-ball and Test squads are able to assemble in Sydney.
The South Australian Cricket Association is also expected to enact Plan B for the Strikers, who would otherwise have trained at home before shifting to a Hobart hub in December.
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WA, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory have already imposed quarantine measures on those travelling from Adelaide.
The Sheffield Shield hub, which wrapped up in Adelaide last Wednesday, has created belated headaches for CA.
Paine, ODI squad member Matthew Wade and Tasmania teammates have been told to self-isolate at home, as per that state’s health advisory for travellers who recently returned from South Australia.
WA’s squad flew into Perth on Saturday, delaying their departure to avoid a stint in quarantine, but have now been told they must spend 14 days at home as part of the state’s hardline response to the pandemic.
Green, who was slated to fly from Perth to Sydney this weekend, will now require permission to travel before the ODI series opener on November 27.
The current quarantine period of ODI squad member Ashton Agar, who skipped the final Shield round in the hub and returned to Perth, ends on Thursday.
“Cricket Australia has thought of every contingency,” spearhead Pat Cummins said.
“Whatever we have to do, we’ll find a way.
“If we can fly over to the UK and play in a bubble over there, it shows we’ll find a way.”
Adelaide Oval was set to be at half capacity for the day-night Test, but that now appears unlikely.
Monday’s development is likely to ensure biosecurity regulations remain exacting in BBL hubs plus the national-squad bubble, also casting fresh doubt on whether players will be released to franchises during the Test series.
“Getting out, going for a coffee or whatever it is, that’s a bonus,” Cummins said.
“It might be a case where it’s different in different states.
“One great thing that Cricket Australia have managed to do is find ways to get our partners and families into that bubble, so hopefully that makes it a bit easier than maybe some of the other tours have been.”
Former Australia coach and current Brisbane Heat boss Darren Lehmann said cricketers will make every effort to keep the summer schedule rolling for the “good of the game”.