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Sport

Sheffield Shield to start in Adelaide on October 10

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - The first four rounds of Australia’s first class Sheffield Shield competition will be held in Adelaide to mitigate the threat of disruption due to COVID-19, Cricket Australia said on Thursday.

The tournament, which usually has the country’s six state sides playing home and away, starts on Oct. 10 with South Australia taking on Western Australia and Queensland facing Tasmania.

“Many people have worked incredibly hard to arrive at this outcome, whilst recognising that player and staff safety and wellbeing remains the priority and having government restrictions in place to keep the community safe from COVID-19,” CA interim Chief Executive Nick Hockley said in a statement.

Victoria and New South Wales will not play their first game until Oct. 22 due to quarantine restrictions.

Travellers from Victoria state, which has been battling a second wave of COVID-19, are not permitted to enter South Australia unless they are deemed essential workers.

Australia’s Big Bash League, the domestic Twenty20 competition, will start in December.

CA said the remainder of the Sheffield Shield would be played in 2021, with dates to be fixed later.

Many of Australia’s top international players are already in Adelaide undergoing a 14-day quarantine after returning home from the white-ball tour of England.

Australia host India in the home summer but the fixtures have yet to be confirmed because of the uncertainty over the coronavirus pandemic, while state governments also have different biosecurity protocols.

The uncertainty has created friction between Cricket Australia and broadcasters, who have threatened to walk away from their television agreement.

Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford

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