Australia captain Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second Test in Adelaide as he was a close contact of a Covid-19 case at a restaurant on Wednesday night. Steven Smith will lead the team in the Pink-ball contest.
Cummins was having his dinner at an Adelaide restaurant with his brother and Adelaide Strikers’ bowler Harry Conway when a person on an adjoining table was identified as a Covid positive case. Cummins immediately left the restaurant and told the authorities about the situation. He has since returned a negative PCR test but is required to isolate for seven days as per the protocols.
Cummins tweets and Hockley addresses the media regarding the situation
“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 skilful player. Super frustrating but COVID has thrown us all some curve balls over the last couple of years. Will be cheering along!”
This is the biggest impact Covid-19 has had on a professional cricket match in Australia. Earlier this year Victoria allrounder Will Sutherland tested positive which resulted in a Sheffield Shield match against New South Wales being pushed onto the next day.
“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.”
We’re very conscious of players’ well-being: Hockley
Hockley also conveyed that he was comfortable with the protocols in place around this Test regarding what players are allowed to do but they are under constant surveillance and will likely be tighter 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.
“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.”