Brisbane Heat were unable to pick up a squad for Tuesday’s clash with the Sydney Sixers after 12 players tested positive for COVID-19.
The KFC BBL is in the grip of a COVID-19 crisis after 12 Heat players tested positive for COVID-19 and are presently isolating themselves, according to a statement released by the league on Wednesday.
COVID UPDATE | Unfortunately due to rising cases within our extended squad, tonight’s game on the Gold Coast has be postponed.
12 players & 1 coach received positive PCR tests this afternoon.
— Brisbane Heat (@HeatBBL) January 5, 2022
Despite its best efforts, the club has been unable to find enough substitute players in the 24 hours after the first instance was detected to fill the needed team of 13 for tonight’s match.
Cricket Australia released an official statement this afternoon confirming that, while the Heat’s match against the Sixers on the Gold Coast has been postponed, the Heat will still play the Melbourne Renegades tomorrow in Geelong.
The Pakistani player, Fakhar Zaman, is already in Melbourne and is likely to be able to play among the few remaining Heat players who are not infected with the virus.
The Heat’s fit players and support personnel are due to fly on a charter jet from the Gold Coast to Avalon Airport in Melbourne’s west tomorrow, with a slew of club cricketers and fringe state players rounding out their XI.
In this circumstance, postponing tonight’s game was the only choice available given the number of cases within the Heat team and the inability to obtain the requisite number of players fit to take the field, league chief Alistair Dobson said.
The Adelaide Strikers’ match against the Hobart Hurricanes has been rescheduled for 7:15 pm AEDT tonight.
Positive cases have already been recorded by more than half of the BBL clubs.
The Renegades cancelled their training session this afternoon after one of their players tested positive for a rapid test.
The Melbourne Stars have been the most hit, with club captain and league drawcard Glenn Maxwell receiving the team’s 13th positive test for the virus today.
Due to the outbreak, the Stars were obliged to rely on club cricketers rather than state-contracted players to field a squad for games against the Perth Scorchers (on Sunday) and the Renegades on successive days.
The mandatory seven-day isolation period for most Stars players who contracted the virus during the original outbreak will finish in the coming days, which means Adam Zampa, Marcus Stoinis, and Nathan Coulter-Nile will be able to play in their next match against the Adelaide Strikers on Friday.
That is assuming that the players have not only been cleared of the illness but are also healthy and ready to perform at match intensity after a week in isolation.
It is reported that plans are being made to relocate all eight teams to Victoria in order to provide greater scheduling flexibility if more favourable circumstances arise.