COVID won’t be stopping the BBL this season, with two players taking to Tuesday night’s opener while positive with the virus.
- Big Bash players who test positive to COVID will still be allowed to play under new rules for the league
- A third change room will be set up to house any players who have the virus during the game
- Both Joe Burns and Marcus Stoinis tested positive before the Melbourne Stars’ opening match
Melbourne Stars guns Joe Burns and Marcus Stoinis both tested positive for the virus in the hours before the game but played on regardless in their last-ball loss to the Sydney Thunder.
It was a far cry from the Stars’ January clash against Perth, one of the more bizarre games in BBL history, where they fielded an unrecognisable line-up after 10 players and eight staff members got the virus.
Burns and Stoinis sat away from their teammates while waiting to bat, travelled to the ground in a separate car and used their own dressing room.
The league intends to set up a third change room at all games this season, with COVID-infected players from both sides to theoretically share the facilities, but won’t stop players from competing with the virus if they feel comfortable.
That was just one part of a rough day for Burns, who hurt his hamstring while batting before retiring and leaving the ground for scans.
Stars captain Adam Zampa admitted it was a weird feeling keeping the teammates separate, but said it had to be the norm to keep the competition rolling.
“It’s something we’re getting used to now, it’s happened already quite a bit this summer through the World Cup,” he told reporters.
“We don’t even speak about it, it’s just a quick message saying these guys are positive and stay away.
“Burnsy’s had a tough day with the hamstring and that as well, he’ll be pretty flat I think and the same with ‘Stoin’, I don’t think he was quite up for it with the ball and he would have been quite handy.”
Burns had hobbled through singles where possible but eventually succumbed, retiring on 18.
Stoinis offered no such resistance, holing out for a golden duck.
He wasn’t well enough to field or bowl later on and instead watched the second innings from the boundary draped in a blanket after warming up in the change of innings to bowl.
Zampa guessed Canberra’s chilly weather had got the best of him.
“I had COVID five or six weeks ago, it was freezing cold in Perth and I just remember feeling the colder it got, the more I felt it, the more my body ached,” he said.
“The sun was out before the game so I’m sure he felt a little bit better, but you wouldn’t want to have COVID and be out in the cold.”
It is unclear if Stoinis will back up for Friday night’s home opener against Hobart, although Burns would appear a certainty to miss with his hamstring.