Australian players are happy to enter biosecurity bubbles in New Zealand, India and now England with white-ball captain Aaron Finch among a raft of players who have signed on for the inaugural edition of The Hundred in July.
Finch was joined by fellow Aussies Glenn Maxwell, Chris Lynn, Marcus Stoinis, D’Arcy Short and Nathan Coulter-Nile among players retained by the eight franchises after the cancellation of the 2020 event.
But there was no place for Steve Smith or Mitchell Starc who were both released by the Welsh Fire despite having signed initial contacts worth $220,000 to play in its postponed first season.
Smith’s cut comes after he was also dumped as captain and released by the Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
He could yet find his way to England however with the remainder of the squads to be filled via a draft which will be held behind closed doors on February 23.
Introducing the Northern Superchargers men’s captain…
Will @ AaronFinch5 lead them to glory?
— The Hundred (@thehundred) February 3, 2021
The cancellation of Australia’s Test tour of South Africa has forced the spotlight on just where the Aussies are and aren’t willing to go during the COVID—19 pandemic.
Several Aussies, including David Warner, have multimillion dollar contracts to play in the IPL in India, which has recorded 10.8 million coronavirus cases, and is averaging 12,722 new cases per day.
South Africa, which is battling a mutant strain of the virus, has had 1.46 million cases, and is averaging 5539 cases per day.
England remains in lockdown and is still batting a mutant strain of the virus, and recorded close to 20,000 new cases on Wednesday.
Any Australian players looking to go to the IPL, and then The Hundred, will need to seek a No Objection Certificate to take part which CA could reject on health grounds.
On Wednesday CA interim chief executive Nick Hockley said approval would be on a “case-by-case” basis.
The 2020 IPL, which featured 19 Australians, was staged entirely in the United Arab Emirates last November, but is expected to be moved back to India for this season which will start in April.
“We have, obviously, got precedent on that from the IPL last year. We have got, obviously, the IPL, if you like, [has] proven its biosecurity protocols. As and when applications are made, we will consider each of those case-by-case, on their merits,” he said.
England completed a full home summer of international cricket during 2020, which included two white-ball series against Australia which was conducted without crowds and with all players locked in biosecurity bubbles in Southampton and Manchester.
Finch, who will lead the Aussie T20 squad in New Zaland later this month, said he was “looking forward” to getting to Yorkshire to join his team, despite the state of the nation in England.