Meteors run machine Katie Mack has taken her COVID-19 precautions to a creative new high after being selected in the Australia A squad for its upcoming home series against England A.
"I went and played a men's T20, and I took hand sanitiser on the field with me," Mack said.
"I'm just not taking any risks."
After a year spent bouncing between cricket bubbles on both sides of the world, Mack is bunkering down this week to ensure she arrives to Adelaide Covid-free when the Australia A squad assembles there on Monday.
She's managed to dodge the virus so far, despite several of her Meteors teammates testing positive last week which led to the postponement of Sunday's fixture against NSW, and a six-month stretch which has involved a stint in England and a 513-run Women's Big Bash campaign.
Mack also managed to squeeze in a few days back in Sydney over Christmas with her family, before returning to Meteors training in Canberra.
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"It was go home and try not to go anywhere," Mack said.
"It doesn't make up for time away but at least it makes you feel a bit better.
"The biggest thing for me is the stress around that, I've had to do a lot of just trying to not worry.
"If I get Covid it just happens, there's only so much you can do. I'll be very happy once I get to Adelaide Covid-free.
"It would be really nice if it was normal, and my partner could come to Adelaide or when I come back and play in Canberra I can see him and play cricket at the same time but it's not as easy as that at the moment.
"I spent five months away from home, because I came back from England and I couldn't come home otherwise I would've had to go into another isolation before Big Bash.
"It hasn't been ideal but in saying that without Covid I probably wouldn't have had the opportunity to go over to England in the first place. You've just got to take the positives with the negatives."
Australia A will host England A in three Twenty20s in Adelaide, before shifting to Canberra for three 50-over matches at Phillip Oval.
That series will run in parallel to the Women's Ashes series, much of which will also be played in Canberra.
Women's selector Shawn Flegler indicated last week that both Australian teams would operate under strict bubble conditions, and with no interaction between the two squads to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading into both camps should it infiltrate.
Mack is determined to perform for Australia A, and send the selectors a timely reminder of her talent ahead of the March World Cup in New Zealand.
"Everyone should be pretty ready to take opportunities," Mack said.
"As you can see in the men's Big Bash, anything can happen. It might not happen but I just want to make sure that if that opportunity arises I'm ready to go."
James is a Queanbeyan boy enjoying his second stint at the Canberra Times, more than eight years on from his first. In between he's traveled the world, and spent time covering sport in Sydney.
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