County Championship 2021
Stanlake's debut delayed after quarantine bungle
Derbyshire say fast bowler not permitted to play this week; Glamorgan say Marnus Labuschagne will be allowed to play on Thursday, despite being required to isolate
27 April 2021, 06:48 PM AEST
Billy Stanlake's debut for English county side Derbyshire has been delayed by two weeks because the club wrongly believed the Australian had an exemption to play during his quarantine period following his arrival in the UK.
But Glamorgan say Marnus Labuschagne is allowed to play in Cardiff this week, just three days after his arrival in the UK, seemingly due to a specific exemption in Wales that allows professional athletes to play some sports during their isolation period.
Stanlake arrived in England on Sunday and had been expected to make his debut against Nottinghamshire this week, with the club under the impression the Queenslander could get an exemption during his period of government-enforced quarantine because he is an elite athlete.
But while matches in the men's T20 Blast and women's Rachael Heyhoe Flint tournament are on the list of exempt sports in England as part of the UK government's quarantine regulations, games in the County Championship are not.
The club has confirmed this means Stanlake is not permitted to play in Derbyshire's home match against Nottinghamshire, which starts on Thursday.
"We originally thought he would be available for the Nottinghamshire game, because he's come from a secure bubble," said Derbyshire's Head of Cricket, Dave Houghton.
"However, first-class county cricket has not been given elite sport exemption with regards to quarantine rules and we believe if he was playing Twenty20 tomorrow, he would be eligible, but because it's four-day cricket, he has to quarantine for five days, which will go beyond the start of Thursday's game.
"We'll have him ready to play in the away game against Essex (starting on May 13)."
However, Welsh county Glamorgan are expecting Labuschagne will be able to play in their game against Kent in Cardiff, which also starts on Thursday, even though he too will be serving his period of self-isolation.
"He's keen as mustard to play, and as a batsman you can get over a flight like that (long-haul from Australia) a bit easier than a bowler," Glamorgan coach Matthew Maynard said on Sunday, before Derbyshire announced that Stanlake will not be permitted to play.
"They do have to quarantine but they are allowed to play at the same time as long as they just go from the ground to the hotel."
Like the regulations in England, the travel regulations from the Welsh government specifies that games in the T20 Blast and Rachael Heyhoe Flint tournament are exempt, but there is no mention of the County Championship.
There is a more general reference to a range of sports that may be exempt, including cricket, but it's not clear if this applies and it's not been clarified if in fact Labuschagne will be permitted to play this week.
Glamorgan have also signed Michael Neser, but the Queensland paceman is not expected to feature for the club until their following match against Lancashire.
South Australia skipper Travis Head, who will fly out on Wednesday for his stint at Sussex, said the club had timed his flight so he can play a day or two after his five-day quarantine period is over.
"I have to get tested on day two, and another one on day five and they are self-tests that you buy a kit for," Head told cricket.com.au.
"The only complication might be if there's somebody on the plane who's COVID-positive, and if that's the case there's a chance the quarantine period will be extended to 10 days.
"But hopefully it's just two negative test results, which means I arrive on the 29th, get out on the 4th or 5th of May and then play on the 6th (against Northamptonshire).
"I've got a good taste for it (the demands of quarantine) now.
"I've had a couple weeks off on holiday and then with five days of quarantine coming up, that should give me a good idea of how I'll be feeling when I come back to Australia and do the 14-day stint, if that's still the case later in the year."
The UK government introduced mandatory quarantine in February for all international arrivals.
While those from high-risk countries are forced to quarantine in a government-approved facility for 10 days, those from low-risk countries – such as Australia – can self-isolate at home and be released after five days if they pay for and return a negative test on day five.
Australians Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Peter Siddle and Dan Worrall all played their first games of the season for their respective counties last week, while Cameron Bancroft (Durham) is also expected to begin his county stint shortly.
* this article was first published at 4.10pm AEST and updated at 6.45pm AEST