In a shocker of news, Mitchell Starc reportedly came close to missing the first Test against India, due to a spike in Covid-19 cases in New South Wales, according to a report in Foxsports.com.au. The rapid increase in coronavirus cases meant that former Aussies pacer Brett Lee, along with a host of broadcasters were rushed out of the state.
But as revealed by The Daily Telegraph, Starc was almost pulled out first Test due to the same reason. The lanky pacer lives on the northern beaches in Sydney, where there has been a huge spike in the cases and had also left the team’s bio-bubble to attend to a family illness. The pacer and his wife Alyssa Healy were on the northern beaches on December 11.
The report further suggests that Starc was given an exemption to attend to a family member’s illness. Also the board ensured that Starc self-isolated for a minimum period of three days before rejoining the team bubble. Had it not been possible, he would have been withdrawn from the Test.
“He is out there by the skin of his teeth,” cricket journalist Peter Lalor said on Channel 7. “If Starc hadn’t gone into a self-imposed isolation last Friday, he would probably have been pulled from the field today.
“CA had to go to the South Australian government and request special permission for him to stay because he was in the area where people are being asked to go into isolation.
“So he would have had to go back to the hotel, wouldn’t be playing in the match at this stage if it wasn’t for Cricket Australia’s COVID bubble that they have instituted.
“There have been a lot of people grumbling and moaning about these self-imposed restrictions from Cricket Australia, but we can see now the volume of them. It has allowed him to stay in this game and hopefully will allow the cricket to continue.”
In the case of Starc missing out, Victoria paceman James Pattinson would have been brought in the team as a replacement. Former Australia batsman Simon Katich explained, “It works exactly the same as concussion replacement, where the match referee gets involved and the player would be replaced during the game with a like-for-like player.”