Cricket: Covid drama shakes England team before ashes rise


English captain Joe Root. Photo / Photosport

The England cricket team were confined to their hotel rooms on the eve of the second day of the Boxing Day test against Australia after a family member tested positive for Covid-19.

The entire traveling team were asked to stay at their hotel in Melbourne as the team underwent a series of rapid antigen tests to determine if an outbreak had occurred in the gaming team.

“The England team and management are currently at the team hotel awaiting RFT COVID test results following a positive test in the team’s family group,” published the team’s official Twitter account just an hour before the start of the game on Monday.

However, less than half an hour after this announcement, it became known that the squad of players had passed those tests and were on their way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground to begin preparations for the day ahead.

However, four members of England’s larger travel group have now tested positive for Covid-19, according to a statement from Cricket Australia.

“Cricket Australia has been informed that two members of the England cricket team support staff and two family members have returned a positive Covid-19 rapid antigen test. Those affected are currently in isolation.

“The entire playgroup and all support staff performed rapid antigen testing this morning and all tested negative. The England cricket team will also undergo PCR testing today and both Teams will take extra care throughout the game. Both game teams remain unchanged.

“There is currently no further impact on fans or other parts of the site. Cricket Australia and the MCC will continue to monitor the situation and follow the Covid-Safe event plan approved by the Victorian government.”

Due to fear, the start time of the second day was delayed by 30 minutes to 1:00 PM NZT.

Meanwhile, Channel 7’s cricket coverage team has also been hit with a positive case of Covid.

The broadcaster will operate with a reduced commentary team on the second day, after testing a positive staff member on Sunday evening.

“The staff member was asymptomatic at the time of the test and has isolated himself since the time the positive result was returned,” Seven said in a statement.

“Seven activates its COVID measures to ensure the health and safety of all staff, as well as the community at large, and works in accordance with all relevant guidelines and regulations. We work closely with the operations team at MCG and Cricket Australia.

“As the community at large is aware, we have implemented COVID response scenarios to ensure that the impact on the release of Seven is limited. There have been a number of changes in the production schedule of ‘today, which will be chaired by Alistair Nicholson, Andy Maher and Jason Richardson with expert commentary from Lisa Sthalekar, Brad Hodge, Callum Ferguson, Michael Atherton and Dirk Nannes.

“Seven’s number one priority is the health, safety and well-being of all staff and the community.”

At the end of the opening day of the third round of the Ashes series, Australia left the field in a comfortable position.

After winning the draw and outwitting England for 185, they finished the day 61/1 and just 124 points behind England’s pitiful opening round total.

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