Mitchell Starc joins Alyssa Healy in Brisbane quarantine amid Covid schedule challenges

Starc will have done four weeks quarantine out of the last five and faces more after the T20 World Cup

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Alyssa Healy has been joined in Brisbane quarantine by husband Mitchell Starc amid the challenges posed by their competing schedules in the Covid era, the difficulty of travel and the need for players to be bubbles.
Healy is among 12 Australia players from New South Wales and Victoria in the squad to face India who are undergoing 14 days of hard quarantine alongside the visitors in Brisbane ahead of the internationals which have been moved entirely to Queensland.
Starc, who recently completed quarantine after returning from the tours of West Indies and Bangladesh, has joined her so the they are able to see each other before he departs for the T20 World Cup meaning four weeks out of five will have been in quarantine.
Even in normal times the schedules for Healy and Starc mean they spend long spells apart - there was a five-month period during 2019 where they spent 10 days together - but the added complications of the Covid era, and the challenges of entering respectively team bubbles, have exasperated the issue.
After the India series Healy will be involved in the WBBL which may yet require a form of bubble while Starc, after another two weeks quarantine following the World Cup, will head straight into the Test squad which will also likely have some element of restrictions around it.
"It's a scary thing at the moment with the way the world is, it's incredibly challenging to travel as freely as before and to bridge into hubs is very difficult," Healy told ESPNcricinfo. "There's going to be a lot of sacrifices being made to ensure we can see one and other as much as we can.
"Mitch has made one and come into quarantine with me in Brisbane so he's doing pretty much four weeks in a five-week period. They are the sort of decisions we'll have to make moving forward. Our summer is incredibly busy for both the men's and women's sides so we've blocked that out as a no-go but we take it as it comes.
"We are really lucky that CA are incredibly supportive of both our careers and our personal life and are willing to make decisions to allow us to see one and other. We are incredibly grateful on that behalf but it is a little bit sad that we get to miss some big experiences for each other."
Healy, speaking to promote a podcast series by ASICS called Sound Mind, Sound Body Stories, conceded that the impact of Covid may shorten international careers if restrictions and the difficulty of travel remain long-term issues.
"Covid has probably thrown a few new challenges at athletes right round the global and how they manage themselves, coming in and out of quarantine, spending a lot of time at home. So the mental challenge has been a real one and being able to manage yourself - physically we are all really good - but learning new ways to be able to manage mentally to stay fresh and motivated has been a real challenge.
"I'd be lying if I said it's not going to shorten careers. I definitely think it will, it's becoming increasingly challenging to be an elite athlete and have a family or some sort of normal life at the minute, so people will probably make decisions earlier than they probably would, that's just being honest."
Healy also acknowledged that seeing sportspeople traveling around while such movement is much more difficult for the general public can be controversial, but cited the recent examples of the Olympic and Paralympic games for the positive impact sport can have in these times.
"People want to see loved ones so managing that has been really tricky as well when there's backlash about athletes travelling around the globe, but we are just trying to do our job like everyone else is," she said.
"Players are continually proving we are willing to go above and beyond to get series and tournaments away. From a playing perspective people just want to do their job and hopefully put some smiles on people's faces.
"I know how much the Olympics and Paralympics has meant to New South Wales and Victoria in lockdown and us in quarantine. The fact we love sport so much in this country, hopefully we can put some smiles on faces during this series."
The India and Australia players doing the hard quarantine will have a week to prepare once it's completed on September 13 with Healy admitting there it will be a tough lead-up to the multi-format series.
"It will be tricky, the bowlers have had to get creative in their rooms, hopefully not making holes in doors or walls, to keep the body ticking over," she said. "Probably the same for me being a wicketkeeper, that first session back, getting into that deep squat will be a tough, but everyone is doing what they can to get the series off the ground and we are grateful for the India team to be doing the same."
Sound Mind, Sound Body Stories powered by ASICS is available across all major podcasting platforms and the ASICS Australia website

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo