Australia’s players are willing to go the extra mile to ensure the Women’s Ashes runs safely and ensure no one is left out of the ODI World Cup amid the Covid-19 cases that have exploded over the last month.
The squad will be back under tight biosecure restrictions during the multi-format contest – the schedule for which was recently amended – but there remains the high risk that if a player catches Covid towards the end of the series that they would miss the World Cup, starting March 4, due there being only one opportunity for the contingent to travel to New Zealand.
Australia’s players, who are split across 15 in the main Ashes squad and 15 in an Australia A group, are scheduled to arrive in Adelaide from Thursday with the whole squad assembled by January 17 leaving just three days to prepare for the first T20I.
Restrictions on their actions are expected to be tighter than the men’s Ashes which has operated at Cricket Australia’s level four protocols with players largely confined to their hotel outside of matches.
Australia’s selectors are planning for the possibility that Covid will affect the Ashes in some form with players in the A squad on notice that a call-up may come at any time. Still, on a day-to-day basis, the squads will be kept separate to minimize the risk of spreading of infection in case someone tests positive.
“In order to get the Ashes up and running we do need to follow some protocols and try and keep everyone as safe as possible,” captain Meg Lanning said. “We are certainly willing to do that and do whatever we need to to get the games up.
“Heading into this bubble the risk of catching Covid is significantly increased than what it perhaps was even six months ago. That is a slight difference heading into this series and that World Cup on the back end is something everyone wants to be a part of and certainly doesn’t want to miss.
“There is, I guess, that little bit of nervousness but having chatted to the medical staff and all the support staff they are putting everything in place that’s possible to keep the bubble very secure and minimise the risk of getting Covid. Very confident that everything is in place that needs to be and hopefully everyone can stay safe.”
“I’d feel pretty lucky if I could still get there and play all the games, that’s the best-case scenario,” Mack said. “Worst-case scenario is I test positive in a couple of days and have to do [another] seven days isolation from there. It’s not ideal, but Covid’s not ideal in anyone’s life at the moment, so it would be pretty hard for me to say I’ve got it tough.”
Avishkar Govardhane is a Sports Editor and enthusiast, working here at Clout News covering the latest Cricket News.