Australia has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases
Australia has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases Image Credit: AFP

Adelaide: Australia’s cricket series against India has been cast into uncertainty again after a coronavirus outbreak in Adelaide, where the first Test is scheduled to be played next month.

Players from Western Australia and Tasmania states who recently returned home from domestic games in Adelaide were ordered into home isolation on Monday when their provincial governments closed borders to South Australia.

Test captain Tim Paine is in Tasmania and up-and-coming batsman Cameron Green is in Perth, although there’s a push to get him to Sydney ahead of the limited-overs series against India starting November 27.

The India squad and Australian players who have just returned from the Indian Premier League in the UAE are quarantining in Sydney ahead of a series of three one-day and three Twenty20 internationals in Sydney and Canberra. The four-match Test series is scheduled to start with a day-night match in Adelaide on December 17, and continue in Melbourne from December 26 and in Sydney and Brisbane in January.

Cricket Australia said it was assessing the situation in Adelaide. The initial itinerary has already been overhauled so that Brisbane, regular venue for the first Test of the Australian summer, was rescheduled to host the fourth match.

While national sports league have continued in Australia in recent months during the global pandemic, the varying travel restrictions in each state have forced sports organisers to keep players in some cities in bio-secure hubs ahead of and during matches.

Australia vice-captain Pat Cummins told an online video conference on Monday that he was confident Cricket Australia and the team’s medical staff have considered every contingency ahead of the series.

“Whatever we have to do, we’ll find a way,” said Cummins, who was part of the Australian squad that played a limited-overs series in England in September before he played in the IPL. “If we can fly to the UK and play in a bubble over there, show’s we’ll be able to do what it takes” in Australia.

“The priority is we get out and play cricket.”

Australia announced their 17-man Test squad last week, including 21-year-old Green and Will Pucovski among a group of uncapped players picked for the series against India.

Adelaide recorded 17 new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday and Monday, prompting the closure of two schools and a fast-food restaurant and other states and territories to impose new travel restrictions.

Health authorities say they believe a worker at a hotel where people arriving from abroad are being quarantined caught the virus and then infected other family members.

Neighbouring Victoria state, venue for the Boxing Day test, recorded a 17th straight day without any new cases on Monday after battling a major outbreak in Melbourne earlier this year.