MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Staying home during the national lockdown to contain the coronavirus is like "nirvana" for Australian cricketers as they generally have to live out of a suitcase, head coach Justin Langer has said.
Australian cricket is in its off-season and has been largely insulated from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, which has suspended all of the country's major sporting competitions that run during the autumn and winter.
Some Australian players are signed with teams in the Indian Premier League but the lucrative T20 tournament has been postponed at least until mid-April and may end up being scrapped like many other tournaments that have succumbed to the pandemic.
“The truth is for me personally and for all the players, this is like nirvana in the fact we’re home with our families, we sleep in our own beds, we eat home cooked dinners and we can still work in one degree or another from home," Langer told reporters on Thursday.
Government containment measures to shut down virtually all non-essential businesses have already hit the economy, with thousands of workers laid off or stood down without pay.
Australia has recorded more than 2,550 infections, with 12 dead. Globally, the flu-like virus has killed more than 21,200.
Langer said the impact of the virus had hit close to home.
"I’ve got four daughters at home and three of them have lost their jobs," he said.
"It’s a great eye-opener to me, how careful we have to be. Talk about being prepared for rainy days.
"This is certainly more than a rainy day. Whether it’s a footy club or my daughters all losing their jobs ... I have great empathy for so many people going through this tough time."
(Reporting by Ian Ransom; Editing by Peter Rutherford)