Cricket Australia was forced to abandon the Sheffield Shield match set to start in Brisbane on Tuesday amid fears of a Covid outbreak as Tasmanian players and officials decided to fly home
Four Covid cases were detected in the northern suburbs of Brisbane where Shield champions Queensland were set to open their 2021/22 campaign against Tasmania.
Initially the opening day was postponed, before the match was abandoned when the Tasmanian team opted to fly home despite no extra restrictions being put in place by the Queensland government.
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“Cricket Tasmania has made the decision to return their Tasmanian Tigers Marsh Sheffield Shield and One-Day squads to Tasmania today. This is not a decision that was taken lightly,”a statement from Cricket Tasmania said.
“While the situation in Queensland hasn’t prevent the match from commencing today, a cautious and considered approach is being taken and it is our strong opinion that we are better having our players and staff home as we build a better understanding of the current landscape.”
“We hope that this preventative measure will, with hindsight, not have been required.
A one-day game between the two teams set to be played on Sunday also looks unlikely to go ahead.
CA said the Shield match would be “rescheduled to a new date later in the season, following the Tasmanian team’s decision to fly home today”.
“Cricket Australia and all State and Territory Associations will continue to make the health and safety of our players, staff, match officials, fans and the wider community our top priority as we look to execute a safe and successful summer of cricket,” a statement said.
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk allayed fears of a snap lockdown on Tuesday morning but said the government was monitoring the situation.
The match was one of just two matches officially scheduled for the Shield season after the original plan was thrown out the window. Both Victoria and NSW players are yet to get the green light to even leave their states as border restrictions hit hard.
A draw between South Australia and Western Australia finished on Monday, while the teams also played a one-day game last week.
The Australian women’s team is set to take on India in a day-night Test on the Gold Coast starting on Thursday.
Teams flew south from Mackay on Monday after completing a three-match one-day series. The entire series, which includes the Test match and three T20s, was moved to Queensland from NSW and Victoria as both states continue to battle rising Covid numbers.
At this stage, the game is set to go ahead as scheduled.