WBBL hopes to play on amid Hobart lockdown


Cricket Australia will attempt to push on with the Women’s Big Bash League in Hobart this weekend, despite Tasmania’s capital being plunged into a snap three-day lockdown on Friday.

Just a day after Sydney Sixers beat Melbourne Stars in the first game of the tournament, Cricket Australia (CA) was left sweating on fears of a potential COVID-19 outbreak in southern Tasmania.

The next four games are scheduled to be played in Hobart this weekend, with two double-headers at Bellerive Oval.

In the best-case scenario for Cricket Australia, those games will now be played without crowds.

“We are currently working with the Tasmanian government on options for the upcoming Weber WBBL07 matches at Blundstone Arena, Hobart this weekend,” CA said in a statement.

“All players, staff and match officials in Tasmania for the WBBL have received COVID-19 vaccinations and received the required negative COVID-19 test results.

“All are currently participating in training at Blundstone Arena or at team hotels.”

More than 20 games are scheduled in Tasmania over the next two and a half weeks, in a bid to begin the WBBL during Sydney and Melbourne’s lockdowns.

The Perth Scorchers have already confirmed they will remain in Western Australia until at least Saturday, pushing back their flight on Friday.

They are due to face Brisbane Heat on Sunday morning.

All of the other seven teams are believed to already be in Hobart.

But in a positive sign for CA, Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein indicated he was open to playing on during the lockdown with players in a strict hub.

“We’re currently working through it,” Mr Gutwein said.

“If they do go ahead — bearing in mind that … there are national and international matters to consider here in terms of the broadcast — they would go ahead with no crowd.

“And it would be with the players remaining in a bubble.”

After the opening third of the tournament is staged in Tasmania, the competition will move on to Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland.

Borders at this stage remain open between the states and CA might move games if required, provided that remains the case.

The lockdown — Hobart’s first since the initial nationwide lockdown last year — follows a NSW man breaking out of hotel quarantine and later testing positive for COVID-19.


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