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COVID case ends BBL’s golden run

Cricket Australia’s run of more than 200 matches without a COVID-19 interruption is over after a positive case in Melbourne Stars’ camp forced the postponement of their clash with Perth.

In a dramatic few hours for the league, a member of the Stars’ support staff was confirmed to be COVID-positive on Thursday.

The Stars’ squad was hastily rushed in for PCR tests, but were still awaiting results just hours before the scheduled 7.15pm start time.

It prompted CA to postpone the match, ending one-and-a-half summers of 205 men’s and women’s Big Bash games going ahead as scheduled despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic.

“While regrettable the decision to postpone tonight’s match was the only option available given the exposures within the Stars cohort,” BBL boss Alistair Dobson said.

“The league has a number of biosecurity protocols in place to keep our participants safe and the competition moving forward.

“These protocols are regularly reviewed in response to the risks in each state.

“Safety remains our number one priority and we will work with the Stars to get their side back on the field as soon as possible.”

The Stars host Perth again on Sunday before the big Melbourne derby the following day at the MCG ,which is expected to attract 40,000 fans.

Getting those matches on is key for Cricket Australia while still managing the health of players.

“We are understandably disappointed for our members, fans, partners and broadcasters that tonight’s match against the Scorchers cannot go ahead,” Stars general manager Blair Crouch said.

“But the broader health of our players, staff and the community comes first.

“The staff member is being managed by Melbourne Stars medical staff in consultation with Cricket Australia and we look forward to them being able to return to the group in due course.

“We have key home matches scheduled on January 2 and 3 in Melbourne so we hope to have more clarity through testing over the next 24-48 hours.”

The Stars-Scorchers match was originally meant to be played in Perth but was shifted to Marvel Stadium earlier this month due to the closure of the Western Australia border.

Cricket Australia had previously avoided the same issues faced by both the A-League and the NBL.

This came despite players still using commercial airlines and not being in a hard bubble while still operating under some protocols.

A new date for Thursday’s match is expected to be confirmed within days.

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