“I don’t want to risk any of my players”

Victorian cricketers have been getting police escorts to and from training in Adelaide amid quarantine restrictions so tight captain Peter Handscomb asked about getting the team’s opening Sheffield Shield match postponed.

Handscomb said it was hard to imagine his bowlers would be ready to play four, four-day games in a six week period with the first match against New South Wales scheduled two days after they complete their 14-days in quarantine.

The Vics were doing their quarantine in the Adelaide Oval hotel before being moved by South Australian health department officials to a different hotel, which then required the police escorts to training.

They have only been allowed to train in “cohorts” of four, with batsmen having to bowl overs in the nets to ensure their teammates get to face enough balls.

But it’s the capacity of the young bowling group to be ready that moved Handscomb to flag the situation with medical officials hoping Cricket Australia could postpone the first game against NSW, set to start on October 22.

“We are getting a lot of information on whether our fast bowlers are getting the loads they need to be ready for those games straight out of quarantine,” Handscomb said on Friday.

“It’s something I have flagged … the last thing we want is one of our bowlers to get injured in that first game after being underdone.

“In terms of batters we could probably come out and do it, but the bowlers are going to have a pretty tough time of it, especially considering we have quite a young bowling attack. They are going to need a bit more time on their feet after quarantine.

“We’re being guided by the science and what Cricket Australia are giving us. But it is tough on our bowlers.

“We’ll need to find out relatively soon so we know what we are doing.”

Our #SheffieldShield squad is in 🔒

The 18-man squad arrived in Adelaide on Monday and are undergoing a quarantine period before the season opener later this month.

The Vics are being scrutinised so much that by the time they get out of the bubble in Adelaide they will have had seven COVID-19 tests.

The preparation has also been so limited some batsmen are only facing one frontline bowler for one hour each day.

Handscomb said the players were coping, but being ready to play was another matter.

“We have a three-hour window, and a one-hour window with each section, in the gym, the indoor nets them to the outdoor nets. Then it’s back on the bus, back to the hotel and back in to our rooms,” Handscomb said.

“(Keeper Seb Gotch) rolled the arm over to me today, give me a bit of confidence

“We have tried to get a bowler and a batter in each group with a coach and then another bowler or batter, depending on the numbers.

“We had word about five days before we came over it would be like that, and that’s this year, things change, and we just have to keep doing what is required of us to get the season over.

“We’re OK with it, we’re cracking on and trying to be as prepared as can.”

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