Melbourne's first Big Bash League match of the season is in doubt, with authorities yet to confirm whether the Brisbane Heat can enter Victoria ahead of Thursday night's clash at Marvel Stadium.
While there was encouraging news in Brisbane when Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk confirmed a three-day lockdown would not be extended beyond Monday evening, health authorities there and in Melbourne had yet to declare whether the clash between the Heat and Melbourne Renegades could go ahead.
The Renegades are due to play Brisbane in Melbourne this Thursday.Credit:Getty Images
Cricket sources remain confident it will be staged but are awaiting a call from health authorities after more meetings on Monday. Victorians have been encouraged to not travel to Brisbane over the past week, and those in Brisbane have been discouraged from returning to Melbourne after a case of local transmission of the UK mutant COVID-19 strain in Brisbane sparked a testing frenzy.
The Heat are based on the Gold Coast and all teams in the northern state have been subjected to tougher protocols in their bio-secure bubble over the past week. While players have been able to train and play golf, they haven't been going out for other reasons and have needed to wear masks when leaving their hotel rooms.
Among the discussions, authorities were weighing up whether the Heat should travel to Melbourne a day before or on the day of the match, while transferring the match to the Gold Coast was another option.
The Renegades are still in Adelaide but are due to head to Melbourne on Tuesday, with coach Michael Klinger preparing to face the Heat.
"As far as I know we are still going ahead Thursday. We just had our main training session today in Adelaide, travel back to Melbourne (on Tuesday), train Marvel and then play Thursday. Unless we hear anything different between now and then, we are certainly preparing to play on Thursday," he said.
The latest development comes as authorities work through the implications of the closure of Victoria's border with NSW and whether Sydney can host any home-and-away matches this season.
CA said on Monday a crowd of up to 15,000 would be allowed at Marvel Stadium on Thursday – should the match go ahead – and Friday night's clash between the Stars and Adelaide Strikers at the MCG. The latter match should go ahead without issue. Attendance numbers could grow depending on any directives from the state government. Social distancing protocols will be as they were during the Boxing Day Test.
The fallout for cricket from COVID-19 has been varied, including forcing the Renegades and Stars to play their opening nine matches in hubs on the road. Both teams have struggled, for the Renegades are at the foot of the ladder, with only two wins, while the Stars are seventh, with only three wins.
Palaszczuk said the fourth Test between Australia and India was set to go ahead from Friday at the Gabba but capacity would be restricted to 50 per cent, that being about 18,000.
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