Cricket: Auckland forced to watch from the sidelines as COVID-19 disrupts start of Plunket Shield season

The domestic cricket season begins on Saturday, but it'll do so without one of its teams.

With the City of Sails still in alert level 3, Auckland is unable to participate in the start of the Plunket Shield, with many players facing weeks of uncertainty.

While most of the rest of the competition has been able to fully train for the last few weeks, Auckland has only been able to in the last 10 days.

"We're probably trying to train in a group of six," says Auckland coach Heinrich Malan. 

"But there's no shared equipment, a lot of hand sanitiser, a lot of masks, spray the balls whenever you've worked with a ball." 

And they're not the only ones unable to train or play because of lockdowns. Several players throughout the North Island are unable to link up with their teams.

Canterbury are one of the lucky sides.

"We're sorta business as usual and ready to go for the first game," coach Peter Fulton says. 

"Obviously there's going to be a few cricketers sitting around for a few weeks, waiting, and hoping we can get those vaccination rates up so we can have a regular season." 

As it stands, Auckland's eyeing up starting their campaign in round three - that'll mean a trip to Nelson to play Central Districts from November 7.

However, that's looking unlikely with the current path laid out on Friday by the Government - unless they can get exemptions.

"It is what it is and the boys understand that," adds Malan.

"One of the themes that we keep talking about from a squad perspective is being agile, being adaptable, and what better situation than this to put some action to those nice little words that we constantly throw around."

For now though, it's back to work for Malan and the Aces, while the Eden Park Outer Oval will have to wait for now.