Quarantine may deter Australian cricketers

As Australia coach Justin Langer ponders how to keep his team fresh, Josh Hazlewood says the need to isolate could affect players' readiness to tour next year.

JOSH HAZLEWOOD.
JOSH HAZLEWOOD. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Australia coach Justin Langer admits it will be a challenge to keep his team mentally and physically fresh in the COVID-19 era, with the prospect of repeated stints in hotel quarantine looming over tours next year.

Paceman Kane Richardson has become the first player to withdraw himself from Australia's squad this summer, opting to remain at home in Adelaide with his wife and newborn son rather than take part in the upcoming white-ball series.

Mitchell Starc, Steve Smith and Virat Kohli are just some of the superstars who have questioned the sustainability of cricket's new normal.

Josh Hazlewood is among a group of Australian players currently undergoing quarantine in Sydney, having departed the country three months ago for a tour of England then headed to Dubai for the Indian Premier League.

Hazlewood admitted the current stint locked down has been "pretty hard work".

Meanwhile, Langer departs Perth later this week and will not return home until April, marking the first time he has spent Christmas away from family.

"It's going to be a hectic summer," the coach told reporters at the launch of his new book.

"The biggest challenge is going to be keeping them fresh, physically and mentally.

"As humans you start getting a bit ahead of yourself or think about what's been, they haven't seen their families (since August)."

Australia's Test squad is set to head to South Africa after facing India this summer, with the IPL season and a tour of the West Indies expected to follow soon after.

The NSW government has given players permission to train in Sydney's west for a few hours each day but they are otherwise confined to a hotel room.

"That privilege of getting out for a few hours each day is a bonus. It's really helping," Hazlewood said.

"We've had the odd team meeting on Zoom but you're pretty much left to your own devices for the rest of the day.

"Bubble life is a lot easier than quarantine, there's a few things you can get out to do.

"If you had to keep doing these two-week stints every time we come back, that makes it a difficult choice for each individual ... that will weigh on a few guys' decisions if we're touring overseas."