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The fragility of the looming Ashes streak was revealed today when a Sheffield Shield match was called off with an hour’s notice after four cases of Covid-19 were recorded in Queensland – where the first test of England is due to take place in a little over two months.

Tasmania were scheduled to face Queensland in Brisbane in their first First Class game of the season, but the game has been postponed indefinitely as the visit returned home due to four cases in Queensland, a state of 1.853 million. km² with a population of over five million.

The women’s test between Australia and India – which is due to start in Gold Coast on Thursday – is expected to go ahead as planned.

Tasmania is unlikely to have returned home for fear of catching the virus. The concern is that Queensland could go into lockdown or that Tasmania, an island, will close its borders to those traveling from Queensland, or impose severe quarantine measures.

This is unlikely to reassure England players, who are awaiting information on what the Ashes tour will look like. They are worried about instant closures and the freedom to live once they serve their two-week quarantine when they arrive in Australia.

It is widely expected that the final test of the series will not take place as planned in Perth, as a two-week quarantine would be required on arrival, even from other Australian states.

“There are serious questions about whether there will be a test match in Perth this summer,” said Robert Colbeck, Australian Minister for Sport. “If there’s no chance of coming here without an extended quarantine, that just won’t happen.”

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