The Ashes, 2nd Test: Australia Captain Pat Cummins Out Of 2nd Test After Covid Contact, Steve Smith To Lead
Australia vs England: Australia captain Pat Cummins will miss the second Ashes Test against England starting later Thursday, after being deemed a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. Steve Smith will captain Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
- Australia will be led by Steve Smith in the 2nd Ashes Test
- Pat Cummins was deemed close contact of a positive Covid case, ruled out
- Michael Neser has been called up to the side as a replacement bowler
Australia were reeling Thursday after captain Pat Cummins was ruled out just hours before the second Ashes Test against England for being a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case. The world's number one fast bowler was at an Adelaide restaurant on Wednesday evening when a person at the neighbouring table was identified as positive for coronavirus. Cummins isolated when he became aware of the situation and has since returned a negative Covid test. But under South Australia's strict bio-security rules he must now isolate for seven days, meaning Steve Smith will captain the side for the first time since a ball-tampering scandal in 2018.
"Cummins is understandably very disappointed not to be able to captain Australia for the day-night Test in Adelaide," said Cricket Australia.
"We anticipate that he will be available to play in the third men's Ashes Test at the MCG in Melbourne (on December 26)."
Smith was axed as captain in disgrace over his part in the 2018 "Sandpaper-gate" fiasco in South Africa.
Travis Head, who scored a rollicking century in Australia's nine-wicket win at the first Test in Brisbane, takes over as vice-captain on his home ground, while Michael Neser comes in a replacement bowler.
Neser was picked in Australia's 2019 Ashes squad but has yet to make the Test team, with Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc leading the way.
The situation could have been much worse for Australia with Starc and spinner Nathan Lyon dining in the same restaurant, but at a separate table outdoors.
"SA Health has deemed them casual contacts and they are free to play," Cricket Australia said.
Cummins' absence is be a big blow for the home team who are already without Hazlewood, who has a side strain.
He played his first Test as captain in Brisbane last week after assuming the role when Tim Paine resigned over a text-message scandal.