Melbourne : Melbourne Stars’ coach David Hussey is “exceptionally annoyed” with the way things panned out following more than a dozen players in the side testing positive for COVID-19 ahead of key matches in the Big Bash League (BBL).Melbourne Stars have been hit the hardest due to COVID-19 with 13 players, including star all-rounder and captain Glenn Maxwell testing positive for the virus and the team having to scramble to find numerous replacement players as their derby against Melbourne Renegades was compromised.The Stars tie against the Perth Scorchers scheduled for December 30 was the first to be impacted by the evolving COVID-19 situation after several Stars players tested positive.”I was exceptionally annoyed,” Hussey told sen.com.au’s Sportsday on Friday about how he felt when the game was re-scheduled to January 2.”Our brief was the game was postponed against the Scorchers at Marvel Stadium, (we) had 48 hours to get 11 fit and firing players at the Junction Oval and the Derby match (against Melbourne Renegades) at the MCG (January 3).
“Doing all this while in our beds, isolating from friends and family over the Christmas period, it wasn’t easy. The boys who played equipped themselves really well, but it just wasn’t the Stars’ brand, it wasn’t the way we wanted to play our cricket… it was extremely frustrating to watch from the couch seeing the boys try their socks off to get the result,” Hussey, a former Australia limited-overs specialist, said.Hussey said the organisers could have been more considerate to the plight of the club, which had almost its entire team in isolation due to the COVID-19 outbreak.”But we just couldn’t put out our best team, I do think we were harshly done by and harshly dealt with, but let’s see what happens later on in the competition. The precedent has been set now, so hopefully we get all our healthy boys back and if other teams happen to go down, well the rules have been set.
“With the players who had tested positive for COVID-19 last week re-joining the side after a week, Hussey has his task cut out to bring them back to peak fitness. However, skipper Maxwell will have to spend a few more days in isolation as he has “developed symptoms”.”Glenn’s (Maxwell) a little bit flat, he’s a little bit angry that he’s actually developed symptoms. He’s actually okay, which is comforting from a health point of view, but he’s got to ride out the seven-day quarantine isolation period and hopefully test negative twice and then he’s free and flexible to come back and captain the Melbourne Stars.”The boys got out of isolation on Thursday, we had a brief run around the MCG which was of low intensity. I think everyone’s at a different stage with recovery… We play the Adelaide Strikers in a couple of days’ time and it’s all about building up slowly and surely and making sure we don’t have any soft tissue injuries.”The 44-year-old Hussey said the past week, where he too tested positive for COVID-19, had been a “nightmare” given the anxiety among his players.”I speak to all the boys individually and they’re all suffering from a little bit of anxiety, (asking), ‘What’s going to happen, am I going to be okay, am I going to be fully recovered from COVID, am I being forced to play cricket?. It’s a bit of a nightmare.”Melbourne Stars lost the two games they required second string players for and are languishing on the bottom of the table with just three wins.