Ashes 2021-22: Travis Head tests positive for COVID-19

Australia batter Travis Head has tested positive for COVID-19 five days prior to the fourth Ashes Test, starting Wednesday, January 5 at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The southpaw is currently the second-highest run-scorer of the series after Joe Root, having scored 248 runs from three games at an average of 62 with one century and one half-century.

On Friday, December 31, Head became the first player from either team to contract the coronavirus. The left-hander, however, is asymptomatic and is currently isolating with his partner in Melbourne going by the guidelines of the Victorian government.

Travis Head set to play fifth Test

Head is expected to play the fifth and final Test of the series to be played at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart from January 14. A Cricket Australia spokesperson, in the meantime, said that the rest of the Australian squad, families and support staff have undergone RT-PCR tests and will travel to Sydney on Friday on a chartered flight.

“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,” Cricket Australia was quoted as saying in a statement.

“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,” the statement added.

After Head returned COVID-19 positive results, the hosts have called up Josh Inglis, Nic Maddinson and Mitchell Marsh as covers. While Inglis and Marsh are currently plying their trade for the Perth Scorchers in the BBL, Maddinson is the skipper of the Melbourne Renegades. Usman Khawaja is most likely to replace Head in the middle order for the fourth Test at the SCG.

David Boon, the ICC match referee, also tested positive for coronavirus and has been replaced by Steve Bernard. England head coach Chris Silverwood is currently isolating in Melbourne after the ungodly virus entered the English camp as well.