Heat players sanctioned for Big Bash bubble breach

Chris Lynn and Dan Lawrence escape suspensions but both players and club cop partially-suspended fines

Cricket Australia has thrown the book at the Brisbane Heat and its two bubble rule-breakers, issuing $70,000 in fines, but have stopped short of issuing suspensions for either player.

Heat captain Lynn apologised for his and English import Lawrence's transgressions on Saturday that sparked a CA investigation and forced them to physically distance from teammates during Monday's KFC BBL game against the Sydney Thunder.

In a statement on Tuesday, Lynn admitted to taking a photo with a member of public at a licensed venue and catching a taxi after being "lulled into a false sense of security".

Both Lynn and Lawrence were charged for four breaches of CA's code of conduct. The players were fined $10,000 each (with $4,000 suspended), while the Heat were fined $50,000 ($20,000 suspended).

The incident was brought to light in the hours before the Heat's clash with the Sydney Thunder at Canberra's Manuka Oval, which they lost by four wickets.

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Both players were required to use a different changing room to the rest of the Heat players, while they had their own spots inside the team dugout and had to stay away from teammates after wicket celebrations.

CA's head of security Sean Carroll said that although the Heat pair's actions were "medically … lower risk", they could still have compromised the BBL bubble designed to avoid COVID-19 infections.

“While Australia’s current COVID-19 infection rate remains low, we must ensure that appropriate measures are taken to reduce the possibility of any player, staff member or official being connected to a declared hot spot. State/Territory Governments enforced isolation and restrictions for crossing borders for declared hot spots may impact the individuals involved, the team and potentially jeopardise the BBL season.

“Medically, this particular breach was lower risk, but actions of this kind have the potential to compromise the integrity of and confidence in our bio-security protocols.

“We’d like to thank Queensland Cricket, the Brisbane Heat, the ACA and both players for their cooperation throughout this investigation.”

Lynn earlier on Tuesday expressed his regret and appreciation for being allowed to play against the Thunder.

"I would like to say sorry to my teammates, the club and the Heat fans for being careless and not observing the protocols that were put in place to ensure the continuity of the competition," he said.

"Having a photo with a fan at a licensed venue and travelling in taxi seem pretty low risk but they were identified in our briefings as examples of things you couldn't do.

"I was probably lulled into a false sense of security that because everything has been improving around the country we were getting closer to normal behaviour.''

"But the rules, including avoiding close contact, are there to protect the BBL competition and all the players and teams and I do apologise sincerely to everyone for jeopardising that."

The incident was cricket's first COVID-19 protocol breach - after the WBBL tournament and two international white-ball series between Australia and India were played without incident.