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Players push to ease bubble restrictions as angst grows over hub life

There are also fears among players much of that time will be spent under even more onerous quarantine conditions as they are visiting places where COVID-19 is far more widespread than in Australia. England players on the current tour of South Africa are only able to leave their hotel to train and play.

Warner, Smith and Josh Hazlewood have all questioned whether players can maintain their schedule under the current climate.

David Warner is among a group of Australian players to exit hotel quarantine on Thursday.

David Warner is among a group of Australian players to exit hotel quarantine on Thursday.Credit:Getty Images

Discussions are yet to formally begin but the Australian Cricketers Association will call for players to be allowed to stay at their home while in their home city instead of CA’s international men’s hub.

There is also a belief that the hubs are now an overreaction to protect the game’s $300 million season but CA are wary of how rapidly the virus can spread while balancing issues around the liveability and family friendliness in their biosecurity protocols.

CA are also surprised at the ACA’s demands given player representatives have been involved in discussions and planning, and that all players are yet to officially join the biosecure bubble in place for the series against India.

The ACA are not asking for CA to seek special dispensation from state governments but want the players’ conditions to evolve in line with the coronavirus situation, citing the opening of Queensland’s border to Victoria and Greater Sydney from December 1.

CA believe their restrictions are not onerous, with players and staff able to leave the hotel for exercise and dine at restaurants, provided they sit outside and wear masks.

CA, however, have indicated a willingness to ease limitations, pointing to the WBBL hub where players and coaches could request to leave to play golf or visit the beach.

There is also hope among administrators that a vaccine will be available in time so that current measures are only in place in the short term.

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Coach Justin Langer is cognisant of the issues confronting his players and though he expected them to be ready to tour no one would be forced to do so if battling issues off the field.

“If they’re at the point where they’re really struggling then they might as well not be playing anyway, that’s my experience,” Langer said.

“Because if you’re struggling, it’s so hard, with all the demands. The game is hard enough as it is let alone if you’re struggling off the field.

“The starting point always, No.1: we expect our players to be ready to play. They’re contracted players. No one is holding a gun to anyone’s head to say you’ve got to play or work within the Australian cricket team.”

He referred to the case of Kane Richardson, who did not enter the hub so he could be with his wife and newborn child, as an example of a “win-win” situation where CA placed family first.

“There’s no point us talking about looking after our players, how important family is when situations come up and we don’t act on them,” Langer said. “We always look after our players. What I do know is they do love playing cricket for Australia.”

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