The Roar
The Roar


'Complete and utter nonsense': CA's ultra-harsh COVID restrictions on BBL imports slammed

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
10th December, 2021

Boom Melbourne Stars import Andre Russell has arrived in Australia just in time for the Stars’ Big Bash League match with the Sydney Thunder on Friday night… but there’s a catch.

Having arrived from Abu Dhabi after playing in their T10 competition, the West Indian master blaster has already spent 72 hours quarantining in Sydney, before heading to Melbourne for the match. However, that isn’t enough to satisfy the strict COVID-19 requirements in NSW or Victoria.

As reported by Fox Sports, Russell will spend nearly the whole night completely separate from his new teammates. He must set up in his own changing rooms, enter and exit via a different gate, and sit in a different dugout while waiting to bat.

The restrictions even apply to Russell during play: the all-rounder will have to remain at least two metres apart from all other Stars players and staff all night, from warm-ups to the actual play.

If that wasn’t harsh enough, the West Indian also can’t high-five, fist-bump or otherwise touch any of his teammates, even when wearing batting gloves.

Fellow Stars international signing Qais Ahmad, who is also arriving from the UAE, will be subject to the same restrictions.

Russell and Ahmad will then have to complete seven further days of isolation before they can be lifted. The Stars play two further matches in that time; they play the Thunder again in Sydney on December 12, and the Sydney Sixers at the MCG on December 15.


Fox Sports have reported these stringent measures are the work of Cricket Australia, in order to ensure the BBL remains COVID-compliant.

It isn’t the first time COVID restrictions have played havoc with BBL teams and their international signings, with Western Australia’s harsh border regulations stopping the Perth Scorchers from meeting imports Colin Munro (New Zealand) and Laurie Evans (England), plus NSW-based Kurtis Patterson, until just hours before their first match against the Brisbane Heat earlier in the week.

Unsurprisingly, the news has been panned by cricket fans, with Brisbane Heat batter and BBL star Chris Lynn among those to let their feelings be known on Twitter.


The measures have meant that Russell is yet to meet his new teammates, as Stars gun Marcus Stoinis revealed to media.

“He [Russell] hasn’t been to training yet, and he can’t come to training either, so we’ll see him for the first time at the game tomorrow,” the Australian all-rounder said.

Sports opinion delivered daily 



However, Stoinis was adamant that despite the lack of preparation, Russell can still make a mark straight away.

“He’s arguably one of the best Twenty20 players in the world for an extended period of time,” he said.

“I don’t even think the boundaries here at the ‘G are big enough to stop him.”

This is Russell’s third stint in the BBL, having spent half a season in BBL04 with the Melbourne Renegades and two seasons in BBL05 and BBL06 with the Sydney Thunder, including a tournament win in the former.