Cricket Australia chief Nick Hockley moved to allay fears Monday over the remainder of the Ashes series after England were rocked by a Covid scare, but admitted it was a “day-by-day proposition”.
Four members of the England camp — two support staff and two
family members — tested positive for coronavirus just hours before the start of
day two in the third Test in Melbourne.
The team and management were required to undergo urgent
rapid antigen tests as they were about to leave their hotel for the Melbourne
They were given the all-clear barely 45 minutes before play
was due to begin.
“The affected individuals are currently
isolating,” Cricket Australia said, adding that the entire playing group
“The England cricket team will also have PCR tests
today and both teams will take extra precautions throughout play,” CA added.
Australian broadcaster the Seven Network also said there had
been a positive case among its staff working at the MCG, forcing last-minute
changes to their commentary team.
Driven by the Omicron variant, coronavirus cases are surging
in Australia — particularly in Sydney — where the fourth Test is scheduled in
January before the Ashes finale in Hobart.
More than 6,000 cases are being reported daily across New
South Wales state, where Sydney is located.
Nevertheless, Hockley said the plan was to press on as
scheduled with the Ashes.
“That’s absolutely the plan. There’s nothing to suggest
otherwise. We’ll rely on the protocols. It’s a day-by-day proposition,” he
“I can’t tell you the amount of work going on behind
the scenes. The diligence of our medical team and players, the diligence with
which they’re working through each of the protocols is extremely impressive.
“They’re very calm, they know this is what they need to
He added: “We’ve got very comprehensive testing regimes
and the players have been absolutely fantastic. It’s ultimately about everyone
taking personal responsibility.”
England faced a similar scenario earlier this year when the
fifth Test of their home series against India was cancelled after multiple
cases among the visitors’ support staff.
Australia captain Pat Cummins, who missed the second Ashes
Test because he was in Covid isolation, said the dramatic events on Monday were
“a sign of the times”.
“You’ve got to be pretty flexible,” he told sports