Anxiety can be felt in the air across the BBL as multiple Covid-19 outbreaks leave a hub in Melbourne as the only option to continue the tournament. In an unexpected crisis for the BBL, Cricket Australia is trying to figure out how to finish the season and also keep players and staff safe. An announcement on the future of this edition of BBL could be made as soon as Tuesday.
Twelve Melbourne Stars players have been struck by Covid-19, forcing them to call-up Victorian club cricketers just to field a team for their last couple of games. Stars allrounder Hilton Cartwright admitted it was tough to look past the Covid-19 situation and prepare for Monday night’s fixture with the Melbourne Renegades.
The former Australia Test player had discussions with the Stars’ wellbeing staff following opening batters Joe Clarke and Tom Rogers being forced out of the Melbourne derby at the MCG. High-profile players such as Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa and Nathan Coulter-Nile were already in isolation due to COVID-19.
Cartwright gives an inside glimpse of what’s happening among BBL teams
“I’ve never felt more vulnerable to a virus in my entire life and I never realised how much it was going to affect my mental state,” Cartwright said. I’ve always had form slumps and this ranks right up there with how I actually feel about going about my business day-to-day. Myself and my wife have basically been locked up in our room, not sure if we should catch the lift in case someone in there might have caught (Covid-19).
“Constantly it’s on your mind and then you’ve got to walk out there and perform one of the biggest pressure stages. I was really battling that throughout the day but once it got to about 4pm, all I was doing was trying to focus on the game. But I can’t see things getting worse than what it’s already been because the guys are meant to be coming out of their isolation period in the next couple of days.”
Hats off to the Stars’ team for their character – Richardson
Renegades pacer Kane Richardson emphasized with the Stars, saying he is sad for what their has had to endure. “If we were in that position with 12 guys out, I don’t know how we would put a team out on the park, so hats off to them, but it doesn’t quite feel right,” Richardson said. As players, we’re all a bit unsure at the moment, and we’re trying our best not to get the virus, but if we do, we don’t know what the go is.
“It would just be nice to know (if the hub is going to happen), there’s obviously talk of it. I think everyone would know that’s a good thing if it keeps the competition going.”