The closure of Victoria’s border with NSW has forced a change of venue and schedule for three Big Bash League (BBL) matches in mid-January, with Sydney missing out on hosting any regular-season games this summer due to the spike of coronavirus infection in the region. However, the five remaining BBL matches scheduled in Sydney between January 22 and 26 still waiting for confirmation.
“The decision has been made in line with Cricket Australia’s commitment to giving all formats and competitions the best chance of completing a full season,” the official statement read. Three matches on January 13, 16 and 18 involving the Thunder, Sixers, Scorchers and Hurricanes have been moved from Sydney to Manuka Oval in Canberra.
Sydney Thunder vs Sydney Sixers, originally scheduled to be played at Sydney Showground Stadium will now be played on January followed by Sydney Sixers vs Perth Scorchers, originally scheduled to be played at Sydney Cricket Ground, 3 days after on January 16. Lastly, Sydney Thunder vs Hobart Hurricanes, originally scheduled to be played at Sydney Showground Stadium will now be on January 18.
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“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. He also said that they are monitoring the situation in Sydney before they decide on the remaining matches there.
“The logistical complexities of the KFC BBL, with multiple movements of multiple groups across multiple state borders, means moving these games gives us the best possible chance of executing a full season. This differs from the logistics of the ongoing Vodafone Test Series, which requires fewer movements across state borders to execute a full series,” Dobson added.
There are 14 games to be played in Melbourne between January 14 and January 26, with the Sixers the only club currently not scheduled to play in the Victorian capital, while the third Vodafone Test is being played in Sydney this week before the series is scheduled to shift to Brisbane courtesy of the exemption granted by the Queensland state government.
Meanwhile, the venues for the BBL Finals, slated between January 29 and February 6, are yet to be confirmed. However, Dobson revealed in November the league would be open to playing them at neutral venues if necessary. At the time of writing, Australia have recorded 28,571 cases of the deadly virus, with less than a thousand deaths.
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