Aussies bound for international assignments
Dan Christian hopes to soon join Nottinghamshire, while several other Australians are due to feature in the Caribbean Premier League
14 July 2020, 01:30 PM AEST
A handful of hardy souls look set to become the first Australian cricketers to play on foreign shores since COVID19 restrictions took force as the game slowly emerges from hibernation.
But it appears only one, veteran allrounder Dan Christian, will be heading over to the United Kingdom for the resumption of their domestic season next month.
It is understood Christian, 37, is awaiting government approval to join English county Nottinghamshire to feature in their domestic T20 campaign.
Another 18 Australians – Marnus Labuschagne, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell and Travis Head among them – had deals to play county cricket but those have all since been cancelled or postponed.
With the UK season now expected to overlap with state pre-seasons and possibly the start of the Australian domestic season proper, it has made a county stint prohibitive for state or national-contracted players.
The England and Wales Cricket Board have announced domestic cricket will restart on August 1 but are yet to confirm fixtures. Travellers arriving in the UK from Australia are not required to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival, following the implementation of 'travel corridor exemptions' on July 10.
Another five Australians were picked up in the Caribbean Premier League draft held earlier this month. Tournament organisers got the green light from the Trinidad and Tobago government to host the three-week T20 competition, beginning August 18, entirely in that country.
There remain some logistical issues for those Aussies heading abroad for domestic competitions. Receiving an exemption to the Australian government's travel ban, getting a visa and then abiding by their destination country's quarantine restrictions (which could preclude them from training for two weeks) are hurdles. For those bound for the CPL, finding timely connecting flights all the way through to Trinidad may be a challenge.
Marcus Stoinis (Barbados Tridents), Chris Lynn, Ben Dunk (both St Kitts and Nevis Patriots), Fawad Ahmed (Trinbago Knight Riders) and Chris Green (Guyana Amazon Warriors) are the Aussies who were picked up in the CPL draft last month.
Two of the six CPL teams' coaches are Australian too, ex-South Africa captain turned Australian citizen Johan Botha (Guyana) and former Melbourne Renegades coach Simon Helmot (Trinbago).
It comes ahead of Australia's mooted limited-overs tour of the United Kingdom in September, which would be their first games since their final two games of a home ODI series against New Zealand were postponed after COVID19 restrictions took effect.
National coach Justin Langer has indicated his support for the proposed UK tour and also hopes restrictions on Australians playing in the UK will be relaxed in future seasons.
"There’s still quite strict restrictions on who can and can’t play there," Langer told News Corp. "It would be nice if they lifted that a bit so then England gets the best players coming over and the players can actually play the cricket that’s available.
"Even for young players going to play club cricket now, it’s really hard to do that.
"The chance to play club cricket in England in itself is such a golden opportunity for young Australians, just like it is for young Englishmen coming over and playing club cricket over here."
The CPL has confirmed overseas players will be subject to quarantine protocols for 14 days upon arrival in Trinidad before teams are "put into 'households' where social distancing will need to be in place."
The issue of quarantine periods was raised by BCCI President Sourav Ganguly last week, explaining that India were hoping they could shorten the 14-day quarantine when they tour Australia later this year.
"In December we will be coming. We just hope the number of quarantine days get reduced a bit," Ganguly said on Indian television.
"Because we don’t want the players to go all that far and sit in hotel rooms for two weeks. It is very, very depressing and disappointing."
West Indies were subject to a two-week quarantine when they arrived in the UK ahead of their three-Test series against England, which began last week.