Ashes 2021-22: Head out of fourth Test after testing positive to Covid-19

By Sports Desk December 30, 2021

Australian batsman Travis Head has been ruled out of the fourth Ashes Test and returning a positive test for Covid-19.

Cricket Australia confirmed that the 28-year-old is asymptomatic and will not fly with the squad to Sydney on Friday for the fourth Ashes Test due to start at the SCG on January 5.

The remainder of the Australian squad, their families and the team's support staff have undergone PCR and RAT tests on Friday and are still planning to travel to Sydney on Friday.

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 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.”

Mitchell Marsh, Nic Maddinson and Josh Inglis have joined the Australian squad as additional cover as a precautionary measure, although Usman Khawaja appears most likely to replace Head in the XI.

On Friday, there was a huge jump in confirmed Covid-19 cases in Sydney, were the fourth Test will be played, with 21,151 infections diagnosed up from 12,226 on Thursday.

The Boxing Day Test earlier this week was jeopardized after positive cases within the England camp, while Third Test match referee David Boon tested positive on Thursday.

Australia captain Pat Cummins missed the second Test in Adelaide after being a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case.

Head becomes the first player to miss a Test in the Ashes series due to testing positive as Covid-19 closes in on the series.

Related items

  • Player of the Match Brandon King scores maiden ODI century as Windies cruise to seven-wicket win over UAE Player of the Match Brandon King scores maiden ODI century as Windies cruise to seven-wicket win over UAE

    Brandon King scored his maiden ODI century to lead the West Indies cruised to a comprehensive seven-wicket win over the United Arab Emirates with 88 balls to spare in the opening match of their three-match series at Sharjah on Sunday.

    Captain Shai Hope showered praised on his bowlers for the clinical execution in the lop-sided victory.

    “There was no hurry. They all bowled well, I can't single out too many, and I was happy with the execution,” he said. “Nice to see Hodge play in West Indies colours now and hopefully we can continue. I don't think there were devils in the surface but credit needs to be given to the bowlers.”

    He reserved special praise for the Player of the Match.

    “King is an exceptional player and someone who I thought would've scored a lot more runs early in his career. But happy for him. He saw the opportunity to take the game forward and happy to see him get his first hundred today,” said Hope who collected the award for King, who was suffering from cramps.

    Set a target of 203, King scored a run-a-ball 112 to guide the West Indies to 206-3 from 35.2 overs in the day/night encounter. He was the last man out with the West Indies 10 runs shy of their target.

    King shared in an opening stand of 48 with Johnson Charles that ended when Charles bowled for 24 while going for a big shot off Zahoor Khan delivery that cut back to hit his off stump for 24.

     A 91-run second wicket partnership followed between King and Shamarh Brooks, who rode his luck before he was eventually trapped lbw by Aayan Azfal Khan for 44. King, who was dropped on 52, then took the match away from the hosts with a 54-run partnership with Keacy Carty before being last man out, caught behind off the bowling of Rohan Mustafa.

    King’s knock included 12 fours and four sixes, three of which came in the 34th over bowled by Karthik Meiyappan.  The second of those sixes took King from 96 to his first ODI century.

    Captain Shai Hope replaced him and quickly ended proceedings with consecutive sixes off Karthik Meiyappan to end on 13 not out from just four balls. Carty was on seven from 19 balls when the match ended in the 36th over.

    UAE won the toss and chose to bat and were restricted to 202 all out in 47.1 overs. Ali Naseer scored a useful 58 from 52 balls and Vriitya Aravind, a contrasting 40 from 77 balls. Asif Khan also contributed 27 against the West Indies attack led by Keemo Paul, who took 3-34.

    Dominic Drakes took 2-29, Yanic Cariah weighed in with 2-26 and Odean Smith 2-40.

  • Umpire Sue Redfern makes Blast history as Gloucestershire brush aside Middlesex Umpire Sue Redfern makes Blast history as Gloucestershire brush aside Middlesex

    Ollie Price produced a telling performance with both bat and ball to guide Gloucestershire to an emphatic seven-wicket victory over Middlesex in a match which saw umpire Sue Redfern make Vitality Blast history.

    Redfern became the first female umpire to officiate on-field in a Blast fixture as she stood along with Alex Wharf at Bristol’s Seat Unique Stadium, where all-rounder Price led the way for the home side.

    The 21-year-old top scored with 46 and shared in crucial partnerships of 60 with Miles Hammond and 52 with Zafar Gohar as Gloucestershire chased down a target of 140 with 10 balls to spare to register their second win in three days.

    Middlesex have struggled to post big totals in the short format this season and this match was no exception, the visitors struggling to build meaningful partnerships and coming up short on 139 for nine after being put into bat.

    Jack Davies hit a defiant unbeaten 46 and Max Holden contributed a valuable 34 for Middlesex, but veteran left-arm seamer David Payne claimed two for 21 and off-spinner Price two for 18 as Gloucestershire took wickets at regular intervals to keep a lid on things.

    Victorious in three of their last four outings, improving Gloucestershire kept alive their hopes of progressing to the knock-out stages, but Middlesex already look down and out, consigned to the foot of the South Group after losing their opening six games.

    Ben Charlesworth, promoted to open the Gloucestershire innings on the back of his record-breaking 19-ball 50 against Essex last week, was stumped off the bowling of Josh de Caires for 12 as the hosts lost their first wicket with 24 on the board in the fourth over.

    Also pushed up the order, Hammond made a better fist of things as he scored a patient 34 to help guide his side to 84 for one alongside Price before the opener squirted a catch to extra cover off the bowling of Luke Hollman.

    Price and Zafar continued to push Gloucestershire towards victory but, with just four more runs needed to seal the win and also record his maiden T20 50, Price attempted to achieve both with a single blow off Thilan Walallawita, only to over-balance and fall to a sharp stumping by Davies.

    Left to finish things off, Zafar remained unbeaten on 37 from 22 balls, with a six and three fours, while skipper Jack Taylor hit the winning run.

    Gloucestershire performed at the top of their game to reduce Surrey to 29 for four in the powerplay at Bristol 48 hours earlier, and although they unable to emulate that feat on this occasion, they began well enough after sending Middlesex in.

    Payne had Stephen Eskinazi caught for one and the visitors slumped to 20 for two when Joe Cracknell hoisted Danny Lamb to square leg.

    Holden made the most of a let-off, put down at point by Matt Taylor off Zafar with the score on 26, to join forces with Pieter Malan and take Middlesex to 45 for two at the end of the six-over powerplay.

    But Gloucestershire continued to press hard and Price had Malan caught at long-on for a 19-ball 21 and Zafar bowled former team-mate Ryan Higgins for one as Middlesex, struggling to contend with spin from both ends, were reduced to 52 for four.

    Holden’s dismissal at the hands of Price in the 11th over made it 76 for five and although Davies struck a rapid 46 not out, Middlesex were unable to reach 150.

  • Joe Root cannot wait to perform in Ashes without burden of captaincy Joe Root cannot wait to perform in Ashes without burden of captaincy

    Joe Root admitted he will relish the chance to deliver for England and focus purely on playing in his first Ashes series in eight years without the captaincy.

    England made it 11 wins in 13 Tests under the leadership of skipper Ben Stokes and head coach Brendon McCullum with a 10-wicket victory over Ireland at Lord’s on Saturday.

    All eyes now turn to the Ashes opener on June 16 and Root, who was man of the series on home soil in 2015 with 460 runs, is excited after leading England during the last three red-ball battles with Australia.

    “It’s going to be nice, yeah,” the Yorkshireman said.

    “It’s going to be nice to just go and play the game and try and assist where I can for Ben and for the other guys around, play a slightly different senior role in the team.

    “They’re always great fun to be a part of, these big games, big series. They’re the ones you want to stand up and play well and it’s just an opportunity to do that again.

    “I think my batting has been fine for a while, but mentally to be able to just turn up and play and have fun, just chat batting with some of the younger guys.

    “Obviously (I’ll) try and help out where I can but Ben knows what he’s doing.

    “He’s got enough behind him now to give himself the encouragement and confidence to make those big calls on his own, as you’d expect him to anyway. He’s doing a far better job than I did.”

    The majority of England’s team were also part of the 4-0 defeat Down Under in 2021, but opener Ben Duckett and Harry Brook are set to experience their first taste of Ashes cricket at Edgbaston.

    Asked what advice he could give them, Root was unable to play down the life-changing aspect of beating Australia with this upcoming series generating a similar level of excitement to the memorable 2005 instalment.

    Root said: “Most importantly is not to over-egg it and that’s probably one of the things that you have to keep in mind.

    “There will be a lot more attention, there will be a lot more noise, there will be a lot more hype around it. There will be people that might not normally be interested in cricket very interested in cricket for five or six weeks.

    “It’s the same game. As soon as the bowler lets go of it, it’s you against the ball. Just go and play as you’ve been playing for the last 12 months and when it goes well, enjoy everything that comes with it.

    “If you’re successful in Ashes cricket it can set you up for life really, not just the rest of your career but beyond it. It’s an opportunity to go and make history and hopefully have an incredible two months of it as a group.”

    Root’s own preparation for this monumental series had been far from ideal before his 56 against Ireland.

    The Yorkshire batter decided against playing County Championship cricket during April and May after he secured a first Indian Premier League contract, but Rajasthan Royals only selected him on three occasions and he batted just once in the tournament.

    Nevertheless, the 32-year-old was philosophical about his experience in India.

     

    View this post on Instagram

    A post shared by Joe Root (@root66)

     

    “Championship cricket is the bedrock of our domestic game and I am not trying to bag it with what I say here,” Root explained.

    “I am not saying it’s not important or a good standard. For where I am in my career, am I going to learn more about myself in that environment?

    “Am I really going to be prepared better for an Ashes series facing lower pace bowling on some nibbly wickets when hopefully we will play on good pitches against high pace and a high quality spinner? I don’t think so.

    “By learning and experiencing something new, talking and discussing the game with greats like Kumar Sangakkara and Brian Lara, other players and ex-players about just batting in general, Test cricket, I thought that not just for the Ashes, but the rest of the year for me it would set me up best to perform well and get the best out of myself. I feel ready.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.