BRISBANE: Twenty20 World Cup player of the series David Warner got off a flight that champions Australia shared with members of England’s Ashes squad, gave a thumbs up as he entered the arrivals hall and headed into 14 days of hotel quarantine.

Cricket in the time of the Covid-19 pandemic has meant a lot of the so-called bubble life for players and officials, punctuated by bursts of action on the field.

Warner scored a half century and shared a pivotal 92-run stand with Mitch Marsh to help Australia beat New Zealand by eight wickets in Sunday’s T20 World Cup final in Dubai. On Tuesday morning, they were back in Brisbane, venue for the Ashes series opener on Dec 8.

Before then, there’ll be quarantine on the Gold Coast. Although, just like the England squad, there’ll be some access to practice facilities. England captain Joe Root and other players who weren’t part of their national T20 squad have been in Australia since Nov 6.

England will hold two internal tour matches in Brisbane from Nov 23-25 and Nov 30-Dec 3 and Australia will have an internal trial in Brisbane from Dec 1-3 to finalise squads for the five-test Ashes series.

The return of the victorious T20 squad coincided with the 11-month countdown to the 2022 Twenty20 World Cup in Australia, and confirmation of seven host cities for the Oct 16-Nov 13 tournament.

MCG TO STAGE 2022 T20 WORLD CUP FINAL

Geelong in Victoria state and Hobart, Tasmania will join the regular Test venues in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne for the T20 competition featuring 16 teams and a total of 45 matches.

The final will be held under lights at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) with Sydney Cricket Ground and Adelaide Oval hosting the semi-finals on Nov 9 and 10, the International Cricket Council (ICC) said.

Australia hosted the Women’s T20 World Cup in 2020 and was scheduled to host the men’s T20 tournament before the Covid-19 pandemic caused a restructure of the international cricket calendar.

“We congratulate Aaron Finch and the Australian squad on their maiden ICC Men’s T20 World Cup crown,” local organising committee chief executive Michelle Enright said. “What an amazing platform it will be to see them try to defend their title in front of Aussie fans in 2022.”

Australia, New Zealand, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, England, India, Pakistan and South Africa have already qualified for the Super 12 stage of the tournament.

Sri Lanka and the West Indies will play the preliminary round with Namibia, Scotland and four other countries to be determined through two qualifying tournaments — in Oman in February and in Zimbabwe in June-July, 2022.

Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2021

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