A food poisoning outbreak forced Tasmania to make three changes for their Sheffield Shield match against Western Australia in Hobart starting today. The Tigers must take at least first-innings points against the top-of-the-table Warriors to have any hope of reaching the Shield final and they will do so without Alex Doolan, Matt Johnston and Jeremy Smith.
At least six of Tasmania's players struggled with food poisoning, some so severely that they spent time on drips to keep them hydrated, after last week's Shield match against South Australia in Adelaide. Health authorities were investigating whether the problem originated in the players' lunches at Adelaide Oval or from another venue, and the ground's facilities passed a health inspection on Thursday.
"The kitchen and players' dining facilities at Adelaide Oval were inspected by authorities from SA Health this morning and we have been advised that at this time no further action is required", Keith Bradshaw, the SACA chief executive, said. "Tasmanian team officials have told us that two Tasmanian players and an umpire are in hospital and that two other players have been withdrawn from play due to illness.
"Thus far, there have been no other hospitalisations but we have arranged for Redbacks who are feeling unwell to undergo testing - so far only Joe Mennie has been tested. Traces of salmonella and a virus called Norovirus are showing in tests from Tasmania but SA Health is continuing its investigation and the source and exact cause of the contamination is still unknown."
The offspinner Jason Krejza was believed to be one of the worst affected but he was eventually ruled fit by Tasmania. The Tigers were already without their captain George Bailey, due to his Australian duties, and the batsman Mark Cosgrove, who has a fractured hand. Ricky Ponting was due to captain Tasmania in Bailey's absence.
The late changes meant a recall for the batsman Jonathan Wells and the seamer Ben Laughlin, who is expected to play his first Sheffield Shield game for Tasmania since moving from Queensland. Sam Rainbird was also included in the squad but was named as 12th man.
Tasmania squad Ed Cowan, Steve Cazzulino, Ricky Ponting, Jonathan Wells, Nick Kruger, James Faulkner, Luke Butterworth, Brady Jones (wk), Jason Krejza, Jackson Bird, Ben Laughlin, Sam Rainbird (12th man).