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Sydney BBL fixtures to move interstate due to Covid-19 border restrictions

The SCG and Sydney Showground had been due to host eight BBL matches later in January

Daniel Brettig
Daniel Brettig
05-Jan-2021
It now appears unlikely that any BBL games will be played in Sydney this season  •  Getty Images

It now appears unlikely that any BBL games will be played in Sydney this season  •  Getty Images

Border closures and logistical complications related to Sydney's Covid-19 outbreak are set to compel Cricket Australia to move a bracket of BBL games out of New South Wales, in a further hurdle for the governing body amid all the issues surrounding the SCG and Gabba Tests.
Though the Sydney Test is set to get underway on Thursday with Australia and India playing out the remainder of the series under far stricter bubble conditions than they had previously needed to comply with - in order to satisfy the requirements of the Queensland government to allow the SCG match to preceded the final Test of the series in Brisbane - the BBL's patchwork of fixtures are another matter.
Eight matches are currently scheduled to be played in Sydney from January 13 onwards, four each at the SCG and the Sydney Showgrounds in the western suburbs. However, with indications that borders to NSW are set to remain closed until at least the end of January, CA looks increasingly likely to shift at least some if not all of these matches into a state with borders open to Victoria - South Australia and Adelaide Oval looking the most likely option.
Sydney Thunder, Sydney Sixers, Perth Scorchers, Hobart Hurricanes, Adelaide Strikers and Brisbane Heat are the clubs presently slated to be travelling through Sydney to play in the scheduled matches. Adelaide's presence in the BBL was set to conclude with a fixture between Adelaide Strikers and Melbourne Stars on January 11, two days before the first of the Sydney games.
A shift to Adelaide would mean that the Thunder, Sixers, Scorchers Hurricanes and Heat would be able to smoothly transit from their current camps in Queensland, Tasmania and Western Australia into SA from January 13 onwards, given open borders currently open between all those states and SA.
Another complication for CA is that fact that any games in Sydney would need to be played, and teams accommodated, under the same sort of strict and costly quarantine conditions as those currently required for the Test teams, where an entire hotel is booked out and security staff hired to monitor it.
CA is also monitoring circumstances around the selection of Melbourne fixtures meant to round out the regular competition in late January, although these games are believed to be less likely to move than those currently set down for Sydney. CA has always reserved the right to shift fixtures during the BBL in the event of further border and Covid-19 issues, and is also yet to announce where the five finals matches - scheduled to be played between January 29 and February 6 - will be hosted.
In a further scheduling change forced by border restrictions, the opening seven matches of the Women's National Cricket League - which had been due to be played between January 15 and 19 - have been delayed until late February and early March in a bid to enable a full tournament to be played.
New South Wales had been due to travel to Adelaide and Canberra for their opening two matches.
The WNCL season will now begin on January 25 with South Australia hosting Tasmania at Karen Rolton Oval. The final remains scheduled for March 27 although further changes could be required depending on the various state borders.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @danbrettig