Covid-19 outbreak rattles Australia before series-opener against India
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By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE - An outbreak of Covid-19 in Adelaide has rocked Australian cricket a month before the test series against India and forced a number of players, including captain Tim Paine, into self-isolation.
South Australia state, which hosts the first test at Adelaide Oval on December 17, reported 14 new Covid-19 cases on Monday, a dramatic increase from the previous day, prompting other Australian states to tighten internal borders.
Adelaide hosted Sheffield Shield cricket matches last week and players involved have been directed to self-isolate after returning to their home states.
Wicketkeeper Paine and test team mate Matthew Wade are isolating in Tasmania after playing for the state against New South Wales.
Young all-rounder Cameron Green and spin bowler Ashton Agar are also self-isolating along with their Western Australia team mates, and could miss the first white-ball match against India in Sydney on November 27.
Cricket Australia (CA), who spent months securing government approvals for India's tour, hope to have crowds of 27,000 per day at Adelaide Oval for the first test.
An escalation in the outbreak could threaten the first of four tests against Virat Kohli's India, a tour worth hundreds of millions of dollars to CA.
India and other Australia players who competed in the Indian Premier League are undertaking a two-week quarantine after arriving in Sydney last Thursday.
If the situation in Adelaide worsens, the Sydney Cricket Ground, which is scheduled to host the third test in early-January, would be a likely replacement for Adelaide.
Australia vice-captain Pat Cummins said CA had thought of every contingency and took heart from Australia's white-ball tour of England in September which saw the teams compete in a biosecure bubble without problems arising.
"So I’m sure whatever we have to do we’ll find a way," the fast bowler told reporters on a video call.
"I think everyone knows they’ve got to be adaptable."