Australia were just one text message away from probably needing to replace their entire bowling attack for the second Test in Adelaide.
Captain Pat Cummins was ruled out on the morning of the Adelaide Test having been identified as a close contact of a positive Covid case while having his dinner indoors at a restaurant on Wednesday night which, under South Australia’s rules, meant he had to isolate for seven days.
Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were differentiated as casual contacts because they were seated outside so were able to retain their place in the XI, but Starc revealed how close it came to Australia having to rustle up a whole new bowling group after also losing Josh Hazlewood through injury.
“It was just fortunate we were sitting outside,” Starc said. “It was almost a bit of a piss take because Pat didn’t reply to my message so thought we’d sit away from him and sit outside so it’s been a lucky one.”
Cummins was given the permission to return home to Sydney on Saturday after a deal was struck between Cricket Australia and SA Health under which he drove himself to a small airport and flew off in a private plane. As New South Wales Health has not listed the venue Cummins ate at as a place of concern he isn’t forced to isolate, although he would need to complete his isolation period if the restaurant was added to the list.
“That’s where we need to make sure there’s social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public,” Hockley told SEN radio. “That’s the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans. That’s been a feature of the Big Bash. But we’ve now got very clear protocols. As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way.”
However, Hockley opined that it was possible to avoid a return to stringent biosecure bubbles for the rest of the Ashes which is now scheduled to finish in Hobart following the switch from Perth.
“While there are an increasing number of cases in the community across Melbourne and then into Sydney, in particular, if players are keeping themselves to small groups and interacting with their own group and trying to keep away from crowded indoor settings, we think with masks and regular testing we can mitigate the protocols,” he said.
Avishkar Govardhane is a Sports Editor and enthusiast, working here at Clout News covering the latest Cricket News.