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Big Bash season starts with capped crowds

The Big Bash will still start in front of heavily capped crowd numbers despite kicking off in two of Australia’s safest cities for COVID-19.

Cricket Australia plan to welcome their biggest crowd of the summer so far at a full SCG in Tuesday night’s Twenty20, with the third match against India sold out.

But officials won’t be given the same luxury from governments in Tasmania and the ACT for the BBL.

Tasmania have not had a case of community transmission since August 10, but will have crowds limited to 50 per cent.

That equates to around 6100 spectators at Blundstone Arena and 6800 at University of Tasmania Stadium for the biggest sports events in Hobart this year.

The ACT’s streak is 150 days without a locally acquired case, the longest in the country.

Despite that, Canberra’s Manuka Oval will at this stage be limited to 65 per cent – or around 6000 – for its six matches.

“There is no doubt we would love more fans to have the opportunity to see brilliant cricket at Manuka Oval in December,” Cricket ACT chief executive James Allsop said.

“In saying that we were extremely grateful for the ACT Government’s support and delivery of cricket through the COVID-19 period.

“And as always we respect the views and expertise of those decision makers.”

Queensland will also be able to have full crowds when the Big Bash visits the state from Boxing Day, giving their matches the same status as those in NSW.

Cricket Australia will not push governments for increased caps given how many exemptions they have been granted, but would welcome any move to lift numbers.

Perth is expected to be at 60 per cent for its five matches, which equates to around 30,000 fans.

The Adelaide Oval is also on track to be 50 per cent full for the first Test and BBL games, letting in around 25,000 despite the recent cluster.

Melbourne Cricket Club boss Stuart Fox last week pushed for crowd allowances to be doubled from 25,000 to 50,000 for the MCG’s BBL games.

But any increase for the Boxing Day Test is unlikely to extend beyond 30,000.

“We’d be very, very happy with 25,000 to be honest after playing in front of no crowds for a period of time,” Matthew Wade said.

COVID CAPACITIES IN EACH BIG BASH CITY

BRISBANE: 100 per cent

SYDNEY: 100 per cent

CANBERRA: 65 per cent

PERTH: 60 per cent

ADELAIDE: 50 per cent

HOBART: 50 per cent

MELBOURNE: 25 per cent

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