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Growing anger at Tasmania pulling out of Sheffield Shield fixture

The match was called off shortly before the toss due to Covid-19 cases in Brisbane

No play: an empty Ian Healy Oval after the Sheffield Shield match was called off  •  Getty Images

No play: an empty Ian Healy Oval after the Sheffield Shield match was called off  •  Getty Images

Dispute and discontent over a Sheffield Shield "debacle" in Brisbane has highlighted the immense challenge confronting Cricket Australia (CA) this summer.
Stunning details of Tuesday's sudden postponement of a Shield match between Queensland and Tasmania, set to feature star Marnus Labuschagne and a stack of Ashes hopefuls, have been laid bare.
Queensland Cricket (QC) chief executive Terry Svenson first learned of what he termed a "rushed" and "panicked" decision via a groundsman at Ian Healy Oval.
Svenson told SEN he then called CA counterpart Nick Hockley, who at that stage was also unaware the game had been aborted because of Covid-19 cases in Brisbane that prompted Tasmania's squad to flee the state.
There is hope the sides' first four-day match of the season will be played next week, with discussions between CA, QC and Cricket Tasmania (CT) continuing.
But the circumstances that led to the postponement, which legend and QC board member Ian Healy lashed as an "absolute debacle" that "disrespected" the integrity of the Shield, underlined how this season's schedule - domestic and international, male and female - remains a precarious beast.
England are expected to name a men's Ashes squad soon but the prospect of the final Test being staged in Perth has significantly diminished. The Shield chaos will have done little to soothe the various concerns of Joe Root's squad.
The AFL and NRL navigated another season of lockdowns, border closures and coronavirus-related scares.
Part of CA's problem is that it is trying to appease multiple state governments but also state associations - effectively its shareholders - in addition to players and foreign cricket boards. Common ground can often be hard to find.
"We should still be playing," Svenson told Healy on the latter's radio show. "We have to be better at making decisions like this and not panicking. "That decision to postpone and ultimately cancel the match was done before we heard from the Premier and CHO [chief health officer].
"There's a flaw in the decision-making process. There has to be a sign-off process. Surely if there's a material change in the game, has to be the CEO of Cricket Australia and the relevant state CEOs. That's what I've appealed to Nick to do and Nick is aligned with my view."
Healy was stunned by the visitors' haste. "Tasmania decides 'we're out' ... can you imagine the [Canterbury] Bulldogs flying home and deciding not to play a [NRL] game without Peter V'landys knowing? It's unbelievable," he said. "What the hell were Tasmania thinking?"
CT made its decision because of fears that players could be forced to quarantine upon returning home, while it was also worried about future travel to South Australia and Western Australia.
"To some extent, I certainly understand that," Svenson said. "I would have liked to have seen them hang around for another 24 hours."
CT counterpart Dominic Baker claimed "players were happy to come home", having debriefed with captain Matthew Wade on Tuesday.
"He said the sentiment of the group was, if we can get out and get back, that'd be preferable. They don't want to be sitting around, doing nothing," Baker told RSN. "No doubt there would be a level of frustration amongst the group."