Big Bash officials won‘t let this season be derailed by a new Covid wave and will set up a third changeroom to be shared by any players who want to play while positive.
Melbourne Stars duo Marcus Stoinis and Joe Burns both played in Tuesday’s season opener in Canberra despite testing positive for the virus just hours before the game.
They travelled to the ground in a separate car, warmed up separately, sat away from their teammates while waiting to bat and used their own changeroom. Stoinis lasted just one ball with the bat and didn’t field as the illness took hold, putting him under a cloud for the Stars game on Friday.
Burns also strained a hamstring while batting and will be sidelined for some time.
But after last summer’s BBL was hit hard by Covid disruptions, particularly the Stars who fielded a line-up full of fill-ins when 10 players and eight staff members got the virus in January, the plan is to let players play this summer should they feel comfortable to do so.
There will be at least three changerooms at all grounds, with any Covid-positive players to share the third one, but they will also be encouraged to remain outside as much as possible. Teams will also have to notify match officials and the opposition of any Covid-positive players.
It’s become the norm in sport now and in cricket. Stars captain, and Australian spinner, Adam Zampa was poised to play in the T20 World Cup after testing positive before withdrawing.
Australian all-rounder Tahlia McGrath also won Commonwealth Games gold in Birmingham while Covid-positive, accepting her medal in a mask.
Zampa said the issue of Covid positives wasn’t something the players worried about.
“It’s something we’re getting used to now, it’s happened already quite a bit this summer through the World Cup,” he said after the game.
“We don’t even speak about it, it’s just a quick message saying these guys are positive and stay away.”
Stoinis spent the second innings in Canberra on Tuesday night sitting on the boundary, wrapped in a blanket, and Zampa said after his experience with the virus, cold weather makes it worse.
He was unsure weather Stoinis would be available to play the Hobart Hurricanes at the MCG on Friday night.
“I had Covid five or six weeks ago, it was freezing cold in Perth and I just remember feeling the colder it got, the more I felt it, the more my body ached,” he said.
“The sun was out before the game, so I’m sure he felt a little bit better, but you wouldn’t want to have Covid and be out in the cold.”
Story Credit: news.com.au