COVID cases in support staff have led to anxiety in England side: Root

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Two days before the start of the fourth Ashes Test here, England captain Joe Root has conceded that there is an “element of anxiety” after several COVID-19 cases were detected in the touring party’s support staff.

The embattled skipper added that he was relieved that the crisis “got resolved quickly” and the tour could proceed.

The England team was in the midst of a COVID-19 crisis just before the start of the Boxing Day Test on December 26, with two support staff and two of their family members testing positive for the virus.

Later, head coach Chris Silverwood too tested positive while isolating in Melbourne.

“It’s one of those frustrating things that can happen around the environment we’re currently living and playing in. Of course, there’s an element of anxiety around COVID and with the amount of cases that we’ve seen around the games themselves,” Root was quoted as saying by sen.com.au.

“Thankfully it got resolved as quickly as possible, and the medical staff seem certain that no-one was put at risk or that anyone was a close contact,” added Root.

Ahead of the SCG Test, both of England’s bowling coaches — fast-bowling coach Jon Lewis and spin coach Jeetan Patel — are also in isolation after testing positive. England only have the services of assistant coach Graham Thorpe, fielding consultant Ant Botha and wicketkeeping consultant James Foster as the team looks to turn around their losing run in the New Year.

Root said his team will try to manage with whatever limited coaching resources it has at the disposal.

“Whether that be you guys within the media, family members or the opposition… unfortunately, it’s the world we’re living in, and we’ve got to manage it as best we can.

“You have to trust the medical advice, those guys are employed to do their job as we are to put in performances, and we’ve just got to crack on as best we can.”

Root admitted that the preparations for the SCG Test were “disjointed” at the moment but there was no choice but to front the situation.

“It is disjointed at the minute. It’s not an ideal set of circumstances that we find ourselves in but we’ve just got to front up to it, to the best of our ability, and get as much out of these two days as we can…It (circumstances) should absolutely bring us together. Sometimes when you look around the dressing room and you know that someone has helped you out and put that hard work in, it can really galvanise a team.”

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