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Brisbane Heat hit by Covid-19 cases forcing BBL into last-minute fixture change

Heat-Sixers clash moved to Wednesday and Scorchers-Sixers clash brought forward to Tuesday night

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
Shadab Khan walks back after being dismissed by Jack Wildermuth, Brisbane Heat vs Sydney Sixers, BBL 2021-22, Sydney, December 29, 2021

Heat Sixers clash moved due to Covid-19 cases  •  Getty Images

The BBL has been forced into last-minute fixture changes after multiple Brisbane Heat players returned positive Covid-19 rapid antigen tests, with Perth Scorchers to play Sydney Sixers at Metricon Stadium on Tuesday night and the Heat-Sixers clash moved to Wednesday to allow time for further Covid-19 testing and replacement players to be found.
Heat recorded positive tests on Tuesday morning and the club has undergone PCR testing of its entire playing group and staff as well as potential replacement players.
Heat, Sixers, Scorchers and Sydney Thunder are all in Queensland for a trio of matches to be played over the next three nights on the Gold Coast. The BBL made the decision to change the order of those matches to give Heat a chance to get a squad together.
Scorchers were scheduled to play Thunder on January 5 and Sixers on January 6 at Metricon Stadium but will play the Sixers two days earlier than planned. Sixers will play Heat on January 5 and Scorchers will face Thunder on January 6 to accommodate the Covid-19 situation.
Scorchers had their first clash with Melbourne Stars postponed after Stars suffered an initial Covid case on December 30. That match is still to be replayed at some point. Stars have had to play their last two BBL matches against Scorchers and Melbourne Renegades with 12 players and eight staff members in isolation after testing positive for Covid-19. Scorchers had two players and one coach unavailable for the clash with Stars with one Scorcher testing positive.
Thunder also lost four players for their last two games against Adelaide Strikers.
The BBL is desperately trying to keep the tournament afloat amid Covid-19 outbreaks across the league.
Stars player Hilton Cartwright voiced his anxiety around the situation after Stars loss to Renegades on Monday night. The BBL has been considering a hub in one city to finish the tournament with players and staff already placed under restrictions while travelling around Australia.
BBL fixture changes:
January 4, 6:15pm AEST: Perth Scorchers v Sydney Sixers (previously scheduled for January 6) January 5, 8:15pm AEST: Brisbane Heat v Sydney Sixers (previously scheduled for January 4) January 6, 8:15pm AEST: Perth Scorchers v Sydney Thunder (previously scheduled for January 5)

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo