Ashes 2021-2022, 2nd test: Australia’s Captain Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second test in Adelaide after being deemed as a close contact of a COVID-19 case at a restaurant on Wednesday night. Australia’s test vice-cpatain steve smith will lead the team in today’s day & night contest.
As reported in Nine Newspapers, Pat Cummins was dining at an Adelaide restaurant with his brother and Adelaide Strikers’ bowler Harry Conway when a patron on an adjoining table was identified as a Covid positive case. Cummins immediately left the restaurant & alerted the authorities. Though he has returned with a negative COVID-19 test he is still required to isolate for seven days.
Cricket Australia also confirmed that Mitchell Starc & Nathan Lyon were dining at the same restaurant but were at a separate table outdoors. South Australia Health deemed them casual contacts and they are free to play. Notably, players were not staying in strict bio-bubbles for the Brisbane & Adelaide tests of the ongoing Ashes 2021-2022 series thus Cummins didn’t break any protocols.
“Gutted to miss this Test but really excited to see Neser finally get his chance in the baggy green,” Cummins tweeted. “He has done the hard yards and is a seriously skillful player. Super frustrating but COVID has thrown us all some curveballs over the last couple of years. Will be cheering along!”
“Not only [are we] taking the advice of the authorities but also having in mind what it means for the continuity of the tour, what we do know is that Pat was a close contact and we want to make sure we can continue with the tour,” Nick Hockley, the CA chief executive, said.
“The steps we’ve taken are consistent with anyone else in the community so a prudent approach to keep the tour going. People are quite philosophical that this is the world we are in. There were no other options”, added Hickley in his statement.
Hockley further said that he was comfortable with the protocols in place regarding what players are allowed to do but they are under constant assessment and will likely be under stringent protocols in Melbourne and Sydney where there are higher cases.
“We’ve got protocols that flex according to the risk level so we are looking at it every single day. The protocols include players needing to dine in small groups,” he said. “They are designed to mitigate the risk that we’ve seen unfold here. We are all devastated that Pat is unable to play but it is the protocols working to have only one player taken out.”
“What we don’t want to do is we don’t want to completely lock down the players. We’re very conscious of taking a precautionary approach. We’re very conscious of their mental wellbeing”, Hockley added.
“Certainly our chief medical officer and our medical team will be working with the playing group, with the ECB and their medical staff to make sure over the course of the rest of the Test match and over the rest of the tour, that we’re mitigating the risk. I spoke to my counterpart this morning and everyone wants to see both sides with their full strength best side out on the park. I think dining outside is a great way to further mitigate the risk.”
Michael Nesser will make his test debut as Cummins replacement while Travis Head has been named as the vice-captain for the pink ball test. Steve Smith will lead the side during the pink ball test in the absence of Cummins.
Cricket Australia expects that Cummins will be available for the third test in Melbourne which starts on Boxing Day. As Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the second test due to a side strain, Jhye Richardson has been included in the squad in place of injured Hazlewood.
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