Wives and girlfriends of players in the Australian cricket team have shared emotional goodbyes before the squad embark on a three-month tour.
The Australian cricket team have become the nation’s first sporting team to embark on an international tour since the coronavirus pandemic took hold after flying to England.
There were emotional scenes at Sydney International Airport on Sunday as players said goodbye to their partners before the tour, with several WAGS posting a heartfelt farewell on social media.
Spinner Nathan Lyon’s partner Emma McCarthy posted on Instagram ‘this goodbye was harder than most’ after spending nearly six months together through the coronavirus period.
‘My love. And just like that he’s off again,’ Ms McCarthy’s post reads. ‘Being at home is very rare for us but it’s been such a welcomed change!
‘COVID has taught me to appreciate every moment no matter how big or small. The last six months at home has been filled with some of our best memories yet!
‘This goodbye was harder than most but I’m excited to see you doing what you love! Be safe and I’ll see you when I see you!’
Ms McCarthy’s post was followed by Steve Smith’s wife Dani Willis, who posted a cute selfie with her husband before he embarked on his journey.
‘Goodbyes are never fun,’ her post reads. ‘Good luck in England and the UAE. See you in 3 months!’
Smith said he’ll miss the jeers and potshots when he returns to crowdless stadiums in England for Australia’s T20 and one-day international tour starting next month.
Without a cricket game since March 13 when Australia’s ODI series against New Zealand was abandoned, Smith said he was delighted to be playing again.
He just wished there’d be some spectators to give him a hard time.
‘I do like batting there,’ he said of England.
‘But unfortunately there’s no crowd there to egg me on and give me a bit more motivation.
‘Still, there is going to be plenty of eyes on the TV and it is going to be great to be back out there playing.’
English crowds initially taunted Smith as he made his Test return in the 2019 Ashes series following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
It even prompted the British sports minister to label some reactions as distasteful.
As the series wore on however it veered more towards admiration as Smith went on to compile a phenomenal 774 runs at 110.57.
Smith said he wasn’t too bothered by Australia effectively being two months behind England in terms of match practice. The home side has already hosted West Indies and is now playing Pakistan.
‘We have to start at some point and this is our starting point,’ Smith said, admitting he’d only picked up a bat in recent weeks after largely concentrating on fitness since mid-March.
Australia will initially quarantine in England and plan on playing up to five internal matches with the 21-man squad effectively big enough for two teams.
Smith admitted he had little idea about the protocols in place for lockdowns, saying he’d simply listen to the experts and ‘do what we are told’.
‘I’m sure there’ll be tough moments for the guys being away from their families for long periods of time … and being stuck in the same place for an extended period – but we’ll all work together and help ourselves and each other out.’
The first of three T20s against England will be played at The Rose Bowl in Southampton on September 4 while the three-game ODI series will take place at Old Trafford, Manchester, starting September 10.
Post the England tour, Smith will fly to the UAE for the IPL where he’ll captain the Rajasthan Royals but is likely to miss at least two matches with the competition starting September 19.