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News

BBL navigates impact of Brisbane's three-day lockdown

Three matches had earlier been moved from Sydney to Canberra due to border restrictions

Sydney Thunder have had two of their home matches moved to Canberra  •  Getty Images

Sydney Thunder have had two of their home matches moved to Canberra  •  Getty Images

The challenges facing Cricket Australia to keep the BBL running became clear again amid the wider impact of three-day lockdown imposed on Brisbane following the emergence of a case of Covid-19 from strain that originated in the UK.
The tournament remains on track for now with Sunday's match on the Gold Coast, south of Brisbane, between Brisbane Heat and Sydney Sixers able to go ahead as it is outside the lockdown zone but players will be under stricter restrictions.
"Both teams are safely located in their bio-secure hub on the Gold Coast and are preparing as normal,'' Queensland Cricket CEO Terry Svenson said. "Strict provisions will be put in place to ensure the safety of those attending and working at the game. Ticket holders from Greater Brisbane will not be able to attend."
Sydney Thunder, who played at the Gabba on January 4, have been given approval to play their next match against Perth Scorchers in Perth on Saturday despite Western Australia imposing a hard border to the whole of Queensland and back-dating restrictions to January 2. The Thunder will not be allowed to leave their hotel other than for the match and training.
CA's biosecure plans have again shown their value after they also helped the BBL navigate the recent cases in Melbourne when some players had returned to the city in time off while other clubs had people join their squads.
There has been some impact on players during the tournament, though, with Alex Carey and Harry Conway forced to sit out an Adelaide Strikers game and Imad Wasim was unable to travel to Perth with Melbourne Renegades due to having come from New Zealand.
Some fixtures have also been forced to move due to the border restrictions imposed following the Covid-19 outbreak in Sydney last month with three games moved to Canberra.
The fate of the remaining matches in Sydney has not yet been decided but it remains probable that they will need to be relocated as well.
The three games currently moved are:
January 13: Sydney Thunder v Sydney Sixers, originally scheduled to be played at Sydney Showground Stadium
January 16: Sydney Sixers v Perth Scorchers, originally scheduled to be played at Sydney Cricket Ground
January 18: Sydney Thunder v Hobart Hurricanes, originally scheduled to be played at Sydney Showground Stadium
Manuka Oval has already staged six matches in this season's tournament with the Thunder, for who the ground is effectively a second home, having played in five of them. However, the subsequent impact of the Brisbane lockdown will mean that the Sixers will now need exemptions to travel to Canberra with the ACT having imposed restrictions.
"The decision to move these three matches from Sydney to Canberra has been taken to ensure the continuation of the BBL season despite the ongoing public health situation and related state border closures," Alistair Dobson, the head of the Big Bash, said. "As part of our ongoing monitoring of the situation in Sydney, we will consider whether or not we need to make any decisions on the remaining matches in Sydney in due course."