The Ashes: Australia captain Pat Cummins out of second Test after close Covid-19 contact | Cricket News

Australian captain Pat Cummins exits the second Ashes Test in Adelaide and has to isolate himself for seven days; Steve Smith as skipper for the first time since the ball tampering scandal; Australia lead the five-game 1-0 streak after winning nine wickets in Brisbane last week

Last updated: 16/12/21 3:26


Pat Cummins was excluded from the second Ashes Test after coming into close contact with a positive case at Covid

Australian captain Pat Cummins was barred from the second Ashes Test in Adelaide after coming into close contact with a positive coronavirus case.

The dramatic development surfaced just hours before the pink ball game began, with Steve Smith now leading Australia at the Adelaide Oval and Travis Head as the hosts’ vice captain.

Cummins went to dinner in town, in line with team guidelines, and was seated next to an individual who was found to be a carrier of the virus.

Cricket Australia said Mitchell Starc and spinner Nathan Lyon were dining at the same Cummins restaurant but at a separate outdoor table. They were considered casual contacts and are free to play.

Smith, named first vice-captain of the series, will now ski Australia for the first time since he stepped down as captain following the 2018 South Africa balloon tampering scandal.

Steve Smith will be captain of Australia for the first time since the ball tampering scandal

Steve Smith will be captain of Australia for the first time since the ball tampering scandal

Michael Neser replaces Cummins in the Australian bowling bout and makes his test debut for a team already without another key player, Josh Hazlewood, due to a side stretch.

Australia led the five-game series 1-0 after beating England by nine wickets in the opening round in Brisbane.

A Cricket Australia statement reads: “Pat Cummins was deemed a close contact of a person who received a positive Covid-19 test last night.

“Cummins was having dinner in a restaurant last night and did not violate any biosecurity protocols. He isolated himself as soon as he learned of the situation and has since done a PCR test, which has produced a negative result.

“SA Health has confirmed that Cummins is a close contact and will be required to isolate himself for seven days. As a result, Cummins is not available to play in Vodafone’s second Ashes Test match for men in Adelaide, starting today.

“Cummins is understandably very disappointed.”

Cummins tweeted: “Disheartened to miss this test, but really excited to see Neser finally get his chance in the broad green. He’s done the hard yards and is a really skilled player.

“Super frustrating, but COVID has driven us all crazy for the past couple of years. I’ll be cheering!”

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