Australia’s Test captain Pat Cummins won’t have to continue his COVID-related isolation in Sydney.
Cummins has returned to his Sydney home after leaving Adelaide, where he was ruled out of playing the second Test against England.
The star paceman was dining indoors at an Adelaide steakhouse on Wednesday night when a fellow patron received a positive result from a COVID test.
Cummins was deemed by South Australian Health as a close contact of the confirmed case and, under SA rules, ordered to isolate for a seven-day period.
Saturday is the third day of Cummins’ isolation period but he struck a deal with SA Health which allowed him to return to Sydney.
Cummins drove himself to Adelaide airport and caught a single charter flight to Sydney.
Back in Sydney, free and clear
And because NSW Health is yet to list the Adelaide steakhouse as a place of interstate concern, Cummins won’t have to continue isolating in Sydney.
Should NSW Health list the restaurant, the Little Hunter in Adelaide’s central business district, Cummins must return to isolation.
As it stands, Cummins is free to train ahead of his expected availability for the third Test starting in Melbourne on Boxing Day.
He remains under heightened restrictions placed on Ashes players and staffers compared to the general public.
Cummins, who has tested negative to the virus, can mix with family but only in small groups while being urged to avoid any highly populated location, particularly indoors.
But being able to train and do fitness work is a bonus for the fast bowler who would have been contained to a hotel room for seven days had he remained in Adelaide.
The developments came after England linchpin Ben Stokes urged cricket authorities to continue treading a fine line between ensuring player well-being and imposing strict COVID protocols.
Stokes is returning to cricket this Ashes series after a six-month spell and has previously said he was in a “dark place” mentally as the sport continued in various biosecurity bubbles.
After Friday’s second day of play in Adelaide, Stokes said the question of how to balance the mental well-being of players while protecting them physically from COVID was “a very difficult thing to answer”.
Mental and physical health
“We know that these rules and regulations are put in to look after us as well,” Stokes said.
“But there does need to be the other side, being away for so long and sort of being restricted outside of any government or public rules that are put in place.
“Obviously the situation with Pat is a prime example of the reasons why these precautions are put in place.
“Because if, say for example, that was a bowlers’ dinner and they were all taken out then you’re looking at a bigger disaster than just one player missing.
“It would have been great for us,” he added with a grin.
“Even though he’s a massive loss for Australia you don’t want to be seeing players missing out. Injuries are part of the game but to see what happened with Pat is not an ideal situation for the game itself.”
England only agreed to tour Australia after obtaining assurances they wouldn’t be placed in a strict biosecurity bubbles.