New Zealand fast bowler Lockie Ferguson said the reactions to him contracting a cold while on tour in Australia may have been slightly exaggerated but were “completely understandable” in light of global concerns surrounding the Coronavirus pandemic.
The 28-year-old complained of cold symptoms after the Sydney ODI of the now-suspended Chappell-Hadlee series against Australia. In accordance with recommended health protocols, the quick was placed in isolation at the team hotel and tested for COVID-19. While the tests did eventually come out negative, Ferguson had to fly back alone a day after his teammates did, but just in time to beat the New Zealand government’s stringent travel restrictions, which came into effect at midnight on Sunday.
“Certainly got a few texts on Saturday but I was quick to announce that it was only a few cold symptoms and happy to be home now,” Ferguson said after reaching Auckland on Sunday (March 15). “Probably a bit over-exaggerated as to how I was. I just sort of had very, very mild cold symptoms and the procedures were as they were and followed by Tommy [Simsek, physio] and the support staff. Completely understandable. So yeah, kinda had a day in the hotel room by myself.
“We had pretty clear comms from our support staff. We knew if we got back tonight it’d be all good,” he said. “So when we got the negative test for the virus last night we just took it as we can and then it was nice to come home today. Fortunately, it was only the day. So not too bad. They went home last night and I just had to stay one more night in Sydney. Not too many issues there.”
Ferguson said he wasn’t as nervous as some others reacting to the news had been, given his frequent bouts with mild cold-like symptoms from travelling the world constantly. The fast bowler, however, found the prospect of playing in front of an empty SCG rather eerie.
“Um, from my point of view, I just thought it was normal small cold symptoms,” he said. “Get quite rundown from time to time playing cricket and travelling a bit. So not too unusual for me. But as I said, Tommy our physio and the doctors followed procedure as is needed. So yes, been 24 hours in isolation but that’s okay. And I’ll be honest, I actually felt good the next day I woke up. I was fine.
“It was strange certainly playing the game under the circumstances and with an empty crowd. For sure, that was an odd experience. At the same time, we were a little bit disappointed with how the game ended up. And yeah, that night I was sort of taken to get swabs and talked to the doctor there and fortunately all was good and yeah happy to be home.
“I think everyone in every industry is probably feeling it a little bit,” he said. “Not just us in sport. Certainly we want to play cricket but under these circumstances we are following the directions of people in much higher power than me. Yeah just taking it in my stride but looking forward to playing cricket soon. So I’ll get back with the [Auckland] Aces boys tomorrow and see what the plan is going forward.”