Australia vice-captain Rachael Haynes is prepared for what appears inevitable disruption to the start of the season and prospect of hotel quarantine around the series against India in September.
India’s tour is currently due to start on September 17 with a warm-up match in Sydney followed by the first ODI on September 19. However, with the city’s lockdown already extended to the end of August that appears increasingly challenging to make happen alongside the various border restrictions that are currently in place. The series is also due to head to Melbourne and Perth before returning to Sydney for the T20Is in early October.
As of Thursday, large swathes of Australia’s east coast were in lockdown with south-east Queensland, including Brisbane, and Victoria also back under tight restrictions due to Covid-19 outbreaks.
Haynes said she expected some clarity in the next week or so about what plans would be put in place but was preparing to have to leave New South Wales and quarantine in another state at some point.
Last season the international summer started with Australia facing New Zealand in Brisbane which involved players from Victoria and New South Wales having to quarantine for two weeks before the series although they were permitted to train.
“The reality is that the players in New South Wales are probably very much aware that to leave the state we will have to participate in some form of quarantine,” Haynes told reporters. “Exactly how that looks, whether it’s a hard hotel quarantine or perhaps like when we quarantined in Brisbane and we were able to train some capacity, I don’t believe there is an answer to that question at the moment but there will be over the coming weeks.
“Once we know that it’ll crystalise what it looks like in terms of our preparation but very much the players based in New South Wales are resigned to the fact that we’ll have to quarantine in some capacity.”
Currently Haynes, who signed a new one-year deal as captain of defending WBBL champions Sydney Thunder on Thursday, and the rest of the New South Wales squad can continue pre-season training under various Covid restrictions.
“Unfortunately, we probably aren’t too unfamiliar with this circumstance given the nature of the pandemic,” Haynes said. “It’s certainly had its challenges, but we have been fortunate that our New South Wales programme has been able to continue albeit under slightly modified restrictions. That’s allowed us to continue training, it’s allowed us a good preparation heading into the international season.
“Think early next week we’ll find out exactly what that looks like in terms of our preparation against India and we’ve been given every indication that the intention is for the Big Bash to continue on beyond that.
“As we know the pandemic always throws a spanner in the works, and if we had a crystal ball it would be nice to predict where we would be in a couple of months’ time, but I learnt last year there’s no point getting too far ahead of yourself.”
Following the multi-format series against India, the WBBL is due to start on October 14 in Sydney with the hope that it can return to a country-wide tournament following last season’s hub. Haynes and her partner Leah Poulton are expecting their first child in mid-October, so if the start of the competition had to move out of the state, Haynes’ availability for the Thunder would likely be impacted.
“I’m definitely not going to miss the birth of my child if I have any control over that, so I’ll definitely be returning to Sydney in October,” she said. “It’s really hard to know exactly how that will look and I’d be guessing how that transition will take place.
“From my perspective I want to play as much of the season as possible and be there to support my team-mates. If we do kick off in Sydney as was originally intended I’ll definitely be a part of that and if there are any changes that I need to make then I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.”
Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.