WBBL 07 Inaugural Week Uncertain After Hobert's 3 Day Lockdown For Covid-19
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WBBL 07 Inaugural Week Uncertain After Hobert’s 3 Day Lockdown For COVID-19

The 2021 edition of Women's Big Bash League, WBBL 2021will begin on October 14 in Hobart | Photo: Cricket Australia
The 2021 edition of Women's Big Bash League, WBBL 2021will begin on October 14 in Hobart | Photo: Cricket Australia

WBBL 07 – The Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL) inaugural week is facing uncertainty after Hobart was put under a three-day lockdown on Friday due to surging Covid-19 cases in Tasmania.

The seventh edition of the Women’s Big Bash League (WBBL 07), kickstarting on Thursday, will feature as many as eight Indian players – the highest number so far in the history of the Australian tournament. It is a fitting testament to the development of the young talent in the last T20 World Cup’s runners-up.

WBBL 07- Women's Big Bash League 2021
WBBL 07- Women’s Big Bash League 2021

WBBL 07- The Women’s Big Bash League’s Inaugural Week Uncertain As Hobart Goes Under A 3 Day Lockdown For Increase In Rising Covid-19 Cases

WBBL 07 is under uncertainty as Hobart goes under a three-day Lockdown owing to the rising Covid-19 cases in Tasmania on Friday. Cricket Australia has stated that they are working on a contingency plan.

Opener Smriti Mandhana, off-spinning all-rounder Deepti Sharma (Sydney Thunder), opener Shafali Verma, left-arm spinner Radha Yadav (Sydney Sixers), batters Jemimah Rodrigues, Harmanpreet Kaur (Melbourne Renegades) keeper-bat Richa Ghosh (Hobart Hurricanes), and leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (Brisbane Heat) are the eight Indians set to feature in WBBL 07.

“Four WBBL-07 games are scheduled to be played at Blundstone Arena (in Hobart) across Saturday and Sunday, with Tasmanian Premier Peter Gutwein suggesting crowds will now not be able to attend those matches,” a report said on Friday, adding that Cricket Australia (CA) was in talks with the Tasmanian government after the flash lockdown was imposed.

The Sydney Sixers won the WBBL opener in Hobart on Thursday night, but doubts have been cast over upcoming games there.
The Sydney Sixers won the WBBL opener in Hobart on Thursday night, but doubts have been cast over upcoming games there. Photograph: Sarah Reed/Getty Images

The report said that CA and the Tasmanian government were working on “a contingency plan”, adding that the Australian cricket’s governing body had informed the state government authorities that all players and staff members had received COVID-19 vaccinations.

During a press conference on Friday, Gutwein was quoted as saying that, “Bearing in mind there are national and international matters to consider here in terms of the broadcast, if they do go ahead they would go ahead with no crowd and with the players remaining in a bubble.”

Cricket Australia will attempt to push on with the WBBL 07 in Hobart this weekend, despite Tasmania’s capital being plunged into a snap three-day lockdown on Friday. Just a day after Sydney Sixers beat Melbourne Stars in the first game of the tournament, Cricket Australia was left sweating on fears of a potential Covid-19 outbreak in southern Tasmania.

The next four games are scheduled to be played in Hobart this weekend, with two double-headers at Blundstone Arena. In the best-case scenario for Cricket Australia, those games at Hobart will now be played without crowds.

Cricket Australia Working With Tasmanian Government On Options For WBBL 07 Matches At Hobart

A total of eight Indian players, including Smriti Mandhana, are playing in the WBBL 07, and seven of the eight WBBL sides are already in Tasmania.

“Perth Scorchers were due to fly in (later) on Friday for their first match against Brisbane Heat on October 17 but confirmed they would remain in Western Australia until more information was available,” the report added.

“Also, Hurricanes are scheduled to play the Renegades on Saturday afternoon, before the Strikers meet the Thunder on Saturday night. The Hurricanes then back up against the Sixers on Sunday morning, before the Heat play the Scorchers,” the report said.

Alyssa Healy of the Sixers on her way to making 57 in the opening Women's Big Bash League match of the season. Photograph: Steve Bell/Getty Images
Alyssa Healy of the Sixers is on her way to making 57 in the opening Women’s Big Bash League match of the season. Photograph: Steve Bell/Getty Images

“The health and safety of our players, staff, match officials and partners, along with that of the wider community, remains our top priority,” CA said in a statement, adding, “We are currently working with the Tasmanian Government on options for the upcoming Weber WBBL|07 matches at Blundstone Arena, Hobart this weekend.”

“The next matches are not due to be played until October 19, after the scheduled end of the lockdown on Monday evening,” the report added.

More than 20 games are scheduled to be held in Tasmania over the next two-and-a-half weeks, in a bid to begin the WBBL 07 during Sydney and Melbourne’s lockdowns. The Perth Scorchers have already confirmed they will remain in Western Australia until at least Saturday, pushing back their flight on Friday. They are due to face Brisbane Heat on Sunday morning. All of the other seven teams are believed to already be in Hobart.

Alyssa Healy started the WBBL 07 season superbly as she guided the Sydney Sixers to a six-wicket win over the Melbourne Stars in Hobart. Consistent rainfall pushed back the start of Thursday night’s tournament opener at Blundstone Arena, reducing the match to 11 overs aside. Alyssa Healy whacked 57 from 27 deliveries, including four fours in a row off rookie Tess Flintoff in the third over, as the Sydney Sixers chased down the 100-run target with four balls to spare.

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