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Quarantine playing on players’ minds

Stir crazy Brisbane Heat hero Lewis Gregory said he may have underestimated how difficult Australia’s two-week mandatory COVID-19 quarantine period would be.But being able to play cricket in front of fans is solid compensation.The Englishman helped the Heat notch their first win of the Big Bash season with three key wickets against the Hobart Hurricanes…

Stir crazy Brisbane Heat hero Lewis Gregory said he may have underestimated how difficult Australia’s two-week mandatory COVID-19 quarantine period would be.

But being able to play cricket in front of fans is solid compensation.

The Englishman helped the Heat notch their first win of the Big Bash season with three key wickets against the Hobart Hurricanes at the Gabba on Sunday night, just two days after finishing his 14-day quarantine period.

Gregory conceded the quarantine period had been difficult, especially during the festive season, and now understood why some internationals, including several of his countrymen, had pulled out of the competition.

“It’s obviously difficult and I may have underestimated how difficult the two weeks quarantine is – I think a lot of the guys have struggled and I think a few guys have pulled out because of that,” he said.

“It’s not easy, it’s not nice being away from your family during what is a nice time to be with your family.

“Equally, the UK is not the best place to be at the moment as well, so it’s just nice to be out playing some cricket, playing in front of supporters and hopefully coming out and winning a few games.”

His effort to pick up Hurricanes top scorer D’Arcy Short (27 off 20) as well as world No 1 T20 batsman Dawid Malan (15 off 16) and Peter Handscomb (7 off 8) – the latter pair falling off successive deliveries in his second over – made him the most successful bowler on Heat debut.

“It’s just nice to put in a performance and contribute to a winning side,” Gregory said.

“Obviously, we’ve not started well, but a couple of the games we’ve lost could have gone our way and then it’s a completely different story.

“I think that’s T20 cricket a little bit. It’s quite easy to get on a run – win or lose – sometimes it’s very difficult to get out of that, so it was really important to get that win, and we could quite easily go on a two, three, four-match (run).”

With captain Chris Lynn (hamstring) out of action for two weeks and set to miss a total of six games, Gregory’s injection was a welcome relief.

“Lynny’s obviously a huge loss, but it’s nice for him to be around the boys for the next couple of weeks and try to get fit,” he said.

“Hopefully, we can have a really good four or five games and be in a position for when he returns.”

Gregory’s efforts were all the more admirable given he had just one practice session with his new teammates – in the Gabba nets – and had not bowled on the pitch before Sunday’s match.

“They came out OK considering I’ve had one bowl in the last few weeks,” Gregory said.

“It’s just a case of trying to mix things up. It’s a pretty decent surface and they’ve got some pretty powerful players, so it was a case of trying to mix it up and trying to keep that variety.”

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