Test stars saved early exit as COVID cases spike

Test stars Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon will enjoy a mental health breather and not join their NSW teammates in the first of a summer full of bubbles in Adelaide as a spike in coronavirus numbers forced the players to fly out 10 days early.

Lyon and Test teammate Mitchell Starc are part of a 17-man NSW Sheffield Shield squad that will leave the state on Thursday, a full two weeks before their season-opening match against Victoria.

The Blues had four potential leaving dates so as to be able to react to the potential of borders being closed again.

The latest was October 18, four days before the opening match against the Vics, who are completing their own two-week quarantine period in the Adelaide Oval hotel.

Lyon only arrived back in NSW last Friday after also serving 14 days in quarantine in Adelaide having returned from two months in a biosecurity bubble in England during Australia’s T20 and ODI series.

He will be given extra time at home before joining his teammates, although he will be on alert to move should there be any changes to border rules.

Starc had travelled to Brisbane where his wife Alyssa was playing for the record-breaking Australian women’s team and will get extra time with her but, like Lyon, could have to cut that stay short to join his teammates.

Travellers from NSW can now enter South Australia without having to serve quarantine and the Shield players, while facing some restrictions, will not be as limited in their movements as they were in England.

Sydney recorded three fresh coronavirus cases on Wednesday.

Nathan Lyon only got out of Adelaide last Friday and won’t have to head back with his NSW teammates. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

The first four rounds of the Sheffield Shield, won by NSW last year without a final being played, will all take place in South Australia, with all teams staying there for the duration.

Blues head coach Phil Jaques said there was a real hunger among his squad to defend their title.

“At times when you win a Shield, there can be a little bit of complacency within the camp, I’ve seen it in teams I’ve played in, but I certainly haven’t seen it at all through this whole off-season,” Jaques said.

“There continues to be a real hunger to keep improving and take our cricket to the next level.

“(During the pre-season,) we were operating in groups anywhere from four up to full squad training, but changing weekly, so the guys have had to be really adaptable throughout the pre-season.

“I can’t commend them enough for how adaptable they’ve been to get a really good body of work done and be as prepared as we are.”

✈️ Adelaide here we come! #SheffieldShieldhttps://t.co/nfWjm5RtIg

NSW Blues Marsh Sheffield Shield squad: Peter Nevill (c), Daniel Hughes, Nick Larkin, Kurtis Patterson, Moises Henriques, Daniel Solway, Jason Sangha, Matthew Gilkes, Sean Abbott, Trent Copeland, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain, Nathan Lyon, Liam Hatcher, Harry Conway, Jack Edwards, Tanveer Sangha

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