Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig
David Warner and Sean Abbott flew into Melbourne ahead of schedule on Saturday as Cricket Australia worked to ensure they are not caught up in the growing web of restrictions around Sydney residents in the wake of the northern beaches Covid-19 outbreak.
The northern beaches cluster grew to 38 cases on Saturday, forcing a lockdown of the region by the New South Wales government, and widening the net in terms of affected residents or recent visitors to Sydney being monitored by health officials in other states.
CA quizzed broadcast and media personnel on Saturday morning about whether they had been present in a range of affected Sydney postcodes after December 11, with a number of NSW residents flying home early from their work on the Adelaide Test as a precaution.
The decision to move Warner and Abbott south to Victoria was made similarly, to avoid the possibility of them being stranded in NSW in the event of the southern border being closed in coming days, should the current outbreak continue to grow. It is understood that Warner took a private jet from Sydney while Abbott went to Canberra for a commercial flight to Melbourne.
Warner is no certainty to play in Melbourne as he continues his recovery from a groin strain, but is making decent progress. Abbott is on the way back from a calf strain he suffered while playing for Australia A against the Indian touring team in a Sydney warm-up game.
"Hopefully I can get up and about and start running at a higher tempo," Warner told SEN radio this week. "I managed to get up to 14kmh so I've got to work towards a max of 26 to 30kmh by next week. If I can run between wickets and move laterally and do some ground fielding by the end of next week, I should be ready to go. Fingers are crossed."
Speaking on Friday, CA interim CEO Nick Hockley remained confident of being able to navigate this new Covid-19 outbreak with plans still in place to stage the third Test in Sydney. However, further border restrictions, especially to Queensland where the fourth Test is currently due to be played, could force a change.
"We're monitoring the situation; we're not panicking at all, staying calm," Hockley told SEN radio. "Adelaide, a few weeks ago we had that pizza-shop outbreak and through that process we worked very calmly to get the players in Adelaide on a charter plane, out of Adelaide within 24 hours and that really saved the summer.
"We've got the Sydney Test and the BBL in NSW after that, so the fact we're here in Adelaide, we've got the next Test in Melbourne, it's really watch, wait and see and I think the governments around the country have handled the pandemic so well, so we'll watch, learn and stay in touch."