Haircut ban part of cricket hub crackdown

Big Bash League players are no longer allowed to leave their hubs for haircuts as part of a suite of risk minimisation measures taken by Cricket Australia which led to David Warner and Sean Abbott being barred from re-joining their Australian teammates ahead of the Boxing Day Test.

CA delayed the pair's return to the national team's biosecurity hub to safeguard against the entire Australian squad being classified a close contact, potentially jeopardising the rest of the series against India.

And the governing body has also increased restrictions for BBL players, conscious of walking the tightrope that is playing a full domestic and international summer while dealing with the challenges of COVID-19 and in particular the recent NSW outbreak which has imperiled Sydney’s hopes of hosting the third Test as planned.

BBL players, coaches and staff staying within the league's hubs had already been subject to a raft of restrictions, including a ban on using the mini-bars in their rooms.

CA has upped the ante over the past week though, with fresh rules showing the organisation remains highly conscious of the potential risks of BBL club personnel mixing with members of the public, even in the relatively safe state of Queensland.

A CA Queensland hub protocols document dated December 21, seen by The Age and the Herald, states that personal appointments such as haircuts are no longer allowed. This contrasts with an earlier version of the protocols from December 1, when such appointments were permitted provided that face masks be worn when inside.

Among other restrictions within the updated guidelines is a ban on eating out either indoors or outdoors. Players and staff can still pick up take away food if it is pre-ordered but they must not wear their team uniform when doing so.

The BBL tournament began with matches in Tasmania and Canberra with five clubs flying from Hobart to Brisbane earlier this week on a charter flight. The clubs are based in hubs in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Queensland's border closure to NSW meant Adelaide Strikers pair Alex Carey and Harry Conway and the Melbourne Stars’ Nic Maddinson will all miss one of their respective clubs' games in Queensland. The trio had all been part of the Australia A squad which faced the touring Indians earlier this month in Sydney.

Brisbane Heat pair Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence were earlier this month fined for breaching bubble protocols following a night out in Canberra.

Star opener Warner and paceman Abbott were on Wednesday ruled out of the Boxing Day Test as they cannot join the team's bubble until after the game due to CA's updated biosecurity protocols in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak on Sydney's northern beaches.

The entire squad could have been subjected to a potential 14-day isolation period if Warner or Abbott had visited a venue in Sydney categorised as a COVID-19 hotspot. As of Wednesday afternoon, NSW had identified 140 exposure sites, many outside the northern beaches.

Warner and Abbott, who live in Sydney's eastern suburbs, flew into Melbourne on Saturday to beat any potential border closure. It proved a prescient move as Victoria closed the border to visitors from Sydney the following night.

Given Warner had not recovered from his injury and Abbott was unlikely to break into Australia's victorious XI, there was little point in CA clearing their entry for the game.

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