Travis Head becomes the first player in the tour to test positive for COVID-19
Australia batter Travis Head has become the latest casualty to contract COVID-19. There are now major doubts lingering over the fate of the Ashes, with both sets of camps having now been exposed to the virus.
Both teams were slated to depart for Sydney later, but due to the latest developments, the flight has been put on hold as Australia hunt for a replacement. Head marks the first player to have tested positive for COVID-19 on the tour. The England contingent holds 7 cases at the moment, all among the coaching staff and the family members of the players.
Cricket Australia announced that Head returned a positive Test result during routine PCR testing prior to their departure from Melbourne. The left-handed batter is currently asymptomatic and will stay back in the Victorian capital with his partner to complete a mandatory seven-day isolation period. A Cricket Australia spokesperson said:
“As part of our testing procedures, we are PCR testing players, their families and our support staff daily. Unfortunately, Travis returned a positive Covid-19 result earlier today. Thankfully, he is asymptomatic at this stage. We anticipate that he will be available to play in the fifth Vodafone men’s Ashes Test in Hobart.”
The England side will travel separately to Sydney as Cricket Australia have made different travel arrangements for safety. The visiting players have all returned a negative test on their PCR tests. Their Australian counterparts, however, have undergone PCR and rapid antigen tests on Friday morning and are expected to leave for Sydney later today via a charter plane.
Travis Head made his mark very early in the series with a quickfire 150 in the Gabba Test.
Australia add three players to their squad to counter Head’s absence
With Travis Head being unavailable for the fourth Test and a doubt for the final Test, Australia have decided to include Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis in their squad.
Selectors have included the trio as a “precautionary measure and additional cover.”
England coach Chris Silverwood is already an absent figure from the upcoming Sydney Test after being deemed a close contact with a positive COVID-19 case. Match referee David Boon has also contracted the virus and will not be part of the upcoming contest.