Despite new COVID-19 turmoil and interruption gripping Ashes 2021-22, Cricket Australia (CA) insists the mega series won’t be disrupted. Cricket Australia has stated that the current Ashes series would proceed according to schedule. The destiny of the remaining Tests is still up in the air after four England non-playing members tested positive for COVID-19.
Following repeated positive tests within the England camp, the start of the second day’s play in the Boxing Day Test was delayed by half an hour this morning.
Within an hour of the initial start time of 10.30 a.m. on Monday, England players and coaches were still at their team hotel, waiting to be bussed to the MCG.
A member of the Channel 7 panel is believed to have tested positive as well. On Day 2 of the MCG’s proceedings, Ricky Ponting, Ian Botham, and Mel McLaughlin were all absent.
Despite CA admitting that two members of the England support staff, as well as two of their family members, had positive Rapid Antigen Tests, the decision was made.
At the conclusion of the match, the whole England squad will undergo PCR testing, but the third Test will go as planned.
If the Test is disrupted again, like-for-like substitutes, which were allowed by the ICC last year for players with symptoms, can be employed.
CA CEO Nick Hockley has sought to assuage worries that the last two matches in Sydney and Hobart would not go through as scheduled in the coming weeks.
“This is what we’ve all been working towards, this is what the protocols are for,” Hockley told reporters this morning.
“Clearly we are being extra vigilant as there are increasing cases in the community. But our protocols are designed for this set of events.
“We’ve got very comprehensive testing regimes and the players have been absolutely fantastic. It’s ultimately about everyone taking personal responsibility.
“We’ll keep working hard to make sure, primarily, everyone is kept very safe.”
Hockley insisted that charter planes between cities and teams having exclusive use of their hotels are minimising the risk of the virus spreading.
“We’ve got great confidence in the protocols,” he said. “There are increasing case numbers in New South Wales but in Sydney we’ve got an exclusive property, we’re flying there by charter.
“This is something we’re having to live with … absolutely we’re committed to continuing the tour.”
The final Ashes 2021-22 Tests will be held in Sydney and Hobart, the latter of which will be a pink-ball match. The fifth Test was originally scheduled to take place in Perth, Western Australia. However, due to quarantine issues and state border rules, the fifth Test was shifted to Hobart, Tasmania’s capital.