Travis Head tests COVID-19 positive, ruled out of SCG Test
Australian cricketer Travis Head has tested positive for coronavirus. Subsequently, he has been ruled out of the fourth Ashes Test, starting January 5 in Sydney. Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed the development on Friday morning. Head is the first player to contract COVID-19 and the first positive case in the Australian camp. There are seven positive cases in England camp.
Why does it matter?
- Head's positive RT-PCR test has sent the Ashes 2021-22 into chaos.
- He is asymptomatic and will now undergo a seven-day mandatory self-isolation as per the Victorian government's COVID-19 guidelines.
- With positive cases in both camps, doubts are mounting over the continuation of the series.
- Australia's flight from Melbourne to Sydney has also been delayed.
- England will now travel separately to the next venue.
CA on Head testing positive for COVID-19
"As part of our testing procedures, we are PCR testing players, their families and our support staff daily," a Cricket Australia spokesperson said. "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 men's Ashes Test in Hobart," added the spokesperson.
A look at the recent developments
There are seven positive COVID-19 cases in England camp, including a family member of their coach Chris Silverwood. Overall, three England support staff and four family members on the tour have returned positive. Notably, England's spin coach Jeetan Patel, fast-bowling coach Jon Lewis, and conditioning boss Darren Veness are all in quarantine. ICC match referee David Boon has also tested positive for the virus.
Head's performance in Ashes
Travis Head is Australia's leading run-getter in Ashes 2021/22. He has amassed 248 runs at an impressive average of 62. He scored a breathtaking century in the tournament opener in Brisbane, which Australia won by nine wickets. Head is the overall the second-highest run-scorer in the series after England skipper Joe Root. The latter has scored 253 runs in Ashes so far.
Who can replace Head in Sydney Test?
As per reports, all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, batter Nic Maddinson, and wicket-keeper batter Josh Inglis have been called up by Cricket Australia as cover. However, Usman Khawaja is touted as a favorite to take Head's position at the SCG. Khawaja last played for Australia during the 2019 Ashes in England, which ended in a 2-2 draw. The left-handed batter has represented Australia in 44 Tests.
Australia lead the series 3-0
Australia have taken a 3-0 lead in the series. They won the first game by nine wickets. In the second game, the Aussies battered England by 275 runs. They won the third Test by an innings and 14 runs. The fourth Test will be played at the SCG, starting January 5. Meanwhile, the Bellerive Oval (Hobart) will host the final Test from January 14.