Cricket Australia is in the midst of another COVID-19 scare after a broadcast crew member at Adelaide Oval for the second Ashes Test tested positive to the virus.
Just days after Australian captain Pat Cummins was ruled out of the Test after being deemed a close contact, officials had another issue to deal with on Sunday.
It’s believed the person who tested positive is a member of a radio crew, with both the BBC and ABC – who share some staff – considering whether they can cover the match from the ground on day four.
“We have been advised that a member of a broadcast crew has returned a positive COVID result as part of their scheduled testing,” Adelaide Oval said in a tweet.
“SA Health are aware and we have begun to trace and notify this person’s close contacts.”
Media members have been asked to social distance when interviewing players and also to wear masks during the Test.
Officials were confident on Sunday that the positive case would not have any impact on the players or match.
The latest scare comes after Mitchell Starc revealed on Saturday night that only an old-fashioned “piss-take” prevented more Australian bowlers being ruled of the Test.
Starc said he and Nathan Lyon didn’t sit with Cummins at the fateful Wednesday night dinner in Adelaide for one reason.
“It was almost a bit of a piss-take because Pat didn’t reply to our message,” Starc said.
“We thought we would sit away from him and sit outside.
“So it has been a lucky one.”
Starc and Lyon dined outside while Cummins was inside the Little Hunter steakhouse in central Adelaide.
Another diner near Cummins was notified he had tested positive to COVID-19.
Due to Cummins’ proximity inside the restaurant, the skipper was deemed by South Australian Health as a close contact of the confirmed case.
That Thursday morning ruling meant Cummins was withdrawn from playing in Adelaide and forced into seven days isolation.
Unlike Cummins, Starc and Lyon were ultimately cleared to play because they were seated outside at the restaurant.
Cummins back in Sydney
Cummins and Cricket Australia struck a deal with SA Health on Friday to allow the skipper to return home to Sydney. Cummins drove himself to Adelaide airport on Saturday and caught a single charter flight to Sydney.
Under a health system quirk, he won’t have to continue isolating in Sydney as NSW Health are yet to list the Adelaide steakhouse as a venue of COVID concern in that state.
Restrictions will become slightly harsher for players at the Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, ruling out indoor dining as well as activities like hair cuts and mixing with fans.
Cricket Australia CEO Nick Hockley has stressed the need to be “extra vigilant” with the rise in cases and emergence of the Omnicron variant.
“That’s where we need to make sure there’s social distancing, so we ask everyone to be respectful in the public,” Hockley told SEN.
“That’s the real shame because what we have seen is players wanting to interact with fans.
“But we’ve now got very clear protocols. As it comes to those on the field of play we need to make sure that people are operating in a really biosecure way.”