The Australian cricket team suffered a major jolt ahead of the fourth Ashes Test at Sydney from January 5 with their key batter Travis Head testing positive for COVID-19.
Cricket Australia (CA) issued a statement on Friday morning saying the batter had tested positive for Covid-19 “following a routine PCR test”.
“Head is asymptomatic and will remain in Melbourne and isolate with his partner for seven days in line with Victorian Government Health requirements. He will be unavailable for selection for the fourth Vodafone men’s Ashes Test, starting at the SCG (Sydney Cricket Ground) on January 5,” said Cricket Australia.
Reserve batter Usman Khawaja is likely to replace Head in the fourth Test. Head was the hero of the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane, smashing an uncharacteristically fast 152 (148 balls) in Australia’s first innings total of 425 runs.
His contribution led the team to a massive nine-wicket win and take a 1-0 lead against the Joe Root-led England.
Meanwhile, CA said that players of the two sides, the support staff and their families had undergone PCR and Rapid Antigen Tests (RAT) test and they will travel to Sydney as scheduled later on Friday.
“The remainder of the Australian squad, their families and the support staff have undergone PCR and RAT tests this morning. Both the Australian and England squads are expected to separately travel to Sydney as planned today.”
As a precautionary measure, Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis have joined the Australian squad as additional cover.
A CA spokesperson was quoted as saying by sen.com.au that, “we anticipate that he (Head) will be available to play in the fifth Vodafone men’s Ashes Test in Hobart.”
“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.
“We are grateful to our exceptional medical staff for all the work they have done throughout this series and we will continue to work with and support the players, their families and staff from both teams,” a CA spokesperson said in the statement.