Ashes, Big Bash League players to be banned from signing autographs amid COVID-19 threat

Ashes, Big Bash League players to be banned from signing autographs amid COVID-19 threat

Pat Cummins is giving the second Ashes Test a miss as he found in close contact with a person.

Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder
Melbourne Stars vs Sydney Thunder. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

In order to keep the COVID-19 threat at bay, players taking part in the ongoing Ashes and Big Bash League (BBL) will be banned from signing autographs in New South Wales and Victoria. With 1504 COVID cases in Victoria and 2482 in NSW reported on Saturday (December 18), Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley stated players must social distance from fans.

It must be noted that Australia’s new Test captain Pat Cummins is giving the second match a miss as he found in close contact with a person, who has been tested for coronavirus. After serving a seven-day isolation period in Adelaide, Cummins flew back to Sydney and underwent a COVID test, which was resulted positive. Hence, he will be allowed to feature in the remaining three Ashes Tests.

Level-four protocols will be enforced in Melbourne and Sydney for the next two Tests, preventing players from eating indoors or attending bars and only shopping by click and collect. Australian players wanting to stay at home between matches, have to undergo regular tests. Haircuts are also prohibited.

I think it’s a wake-up call for everyone across the game: Nick Hockley

“We’re always on high alert. I think it’s a wake-up call for everyone across the game. It’s a wake-up call for sport. It’s not unique to sport in Australia or around the globe. We’re seeing a fair bit of disruption. Everyone now needs to be extra vigilant because we’ve had a very high-profile case of disruption,” Hockley said on radio SEN.

Players were often found signing autographs and interacting with fans after matches in the ongoing Ashes and BBL. In fact, some bowlers even signed autographs while fielding near the third man and fine leg region, where the ball doesn’t travel very often. However, the CA Boss now wants his players to be even more safe.

“That’s the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That’s been a feature of the Big Bash. But we’ve now got very clear protocols. As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way,” Hockley added.