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Aussies rocked as Test star contracts Covid



Cricket Australia confirmed the batter is asymptomatic but returned a positive PCR test and will remain in Melbourne to isolate for seven days with his partner.CA said in a statement: “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 Cricket Australia spokesperson added: “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.”Usman Khawaja has been the spare batter in the Test squad and looms as Head’s likely replacement in the middle order for the Sydney Test, which begins on Januray 5. The Queenslander was close to being chosen for the start of the series in Brisbane but lost out in a selection shoot-out with Head. Head has been a shining light for Australia against England, returning to the Test side after being dropped last summer. He scored a spectacular 152 at the Gabba and followed that up with a sparkling half century in Adelaide.Victorian batter Nic Maddinson has been in fine form for the past two summers and is another option for selectors if they want to blood a younger player than the 35-year-old Khawaja, after drafting the left-hander into the squad because of Head’s withdrawal.The other two additions — Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis — are more unlikely replacements because they are an all-rounder and wicketkeeper respectively, rather than specialist batters. Cameron Green has impressed with the ball as the all-rounder in the Aussie side this summer and Alex Carey has, for the most part, been tidy with the gloves since taking over from former captain Tim Paine.Meanwhile, Code cricket writer Daniel Cherny reports positive cases have also been identified at several BBL franchises.“Players at multiple BBL clubs have tested positive for Covid-19, placing a cloud on the Big Bash League’s immediate future,” Cherny said on is reporting the New Year’s Eve clash between Adelaide Strikers and Sydney Thunder is in doubt after a Thunder player tested positive.The latest developments come after ICC match referee David Boon — the former Australian batter who was officiating the Ashes — tested positive to Covid and was ruled out of the Sydney Test.England has also been hit hard by the virus. On Thursday it was confirmed coach Chris Silverwood will miss the fourth Test in Sydney because he needs to isolate in Melbourne after being identified as a close contact to a positive Covid-19 case.The Covid outbreak within the England camp, which rose from four to six during the Boxing Day Test, grew again as another family member tested positive — bringing the total number of cases to seven.Silverwood — who is under pressure to keep his job — must isolate in Melbourne with his family for 10 days, meaning he won’t be able to take charge of the team for the Test at the SCG.The head coach isn’t the only key member of the England camp to be affected. Bowling coach Jon Lewis, spin bowling coach Jeetan Patel and strength and conditioning coach Darren Veness are also in isolation after contracting the virus.Batting coach Graham Thorpe will take over from Silverwood for the Sydney Test, which will see Joe Root and his men try to restore some pride after being thrashed by an innings and 14 runs in Melbourne.

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