'What a farce': Cricket world rages over Pat Cummins 'disgrace'

·Sports Editor
·5-min read
Pat Cummins and David Warner, pictured here at an Australian training session at Adelaide Oval.
Pat Cummins speaks to David Warner at an Australian training session at Adelaide Oval. (Photo by Mark Brake/Getty Images)

Cricket fans and commentators are fuming after Pat Cummins was ruled out of the second Ashes Test after he was deemed a close contact of a Covid case.

The Aussie captain was at a restaurant on Wednesday night when a person at a nearby table to him discovered they had tested positive to the virus.

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Cummins immediately left the venue and notified officials, and has since tested negative for Covid-19.

However his close proximity to the positive case means he has been judged as a close contact, and forced to isolate for seven days.

Steve Smith will now captain Australia for the first time since the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, while Michael Neser will make his Test debut.

Amazingly, Australia were just metres away from having their whole frontline bowling attack wiped out via the restaurant visit.

Both Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon were also present, but were seated outside and therefore only deemed casual contacts.

They too were tested on Thursday morning, but are free to play against England under South Australian health rules.

"Cummins is understandably very disappointed not to be able to captain Australia for the day-night Test in Adelaide," Cricket Australia said in a statement.

"We anticipate that he will be available to play in the third men's Ashes Test at the MCG in Melbourne (on Boxing Day)."

Fans and commentators have since condemned the decision to deem Cummins a close contact.

Pat Cummins, pictured here at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday.
Australian captain Pat Cummins at the Adelaide Oval on Wednesday. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

Shane McInnes of 3AW radio tweeted: “Pat Cummins ruled out of 2nd Test, despite testing negative. And now must isolate for 7 days. Farcical.

“Sports must adapt to Covid and learn to play with it. If a player tests positive, withdraw them, but if they’re vaccinated and test negative, play on.”

Broadcaster Daniel Garb wrote: “Can the politicians/medical officers please get this message out, tell everyone to calm down, get on with living life normally and get the rock in P.Cummins’ hand. We got vaxxed for that reason”.

3AW radio host Dee Dee Dunleavy said it was “absurd” that Cummins will miss the day-night Test in Adelaide.

“He’s not a close contact, he’s a casual contact,” she said. “He has tested negative.

“We keep being told ‘let’s move on with our lives’ and our vaccination rates are fantastic... it’s just a farce.”

Others described the situation as a "joke" and "disgrace".

How do cricket officials move from here?

There is no suggestion that any party has done anything wrong, with incoming passengers into Adelaide from NSW and Victoria not required to quarantine after their initial test.

Adelaide has had a rise in Covid-19 cases over the past week, with the 25 reported on Wednesday the most in a single day in more than 18 months.

Players are not in strict bubbles for the Adelaide Test, with both Australia and England players wanting as many freedoms as possible on the tour.

South Australian Premier Steven Marshall, pictured here speaking to the media in Adelaide.
South Australian Premier Steven Marshall speaks to the media in Adelaide. (Photo by Kelly Barnes/Getty Images)

But the Cummins incident does call into question what protocols will be required for the next two Tests in Melbourne and Sydney, where case numbers are beyond 1000 per day.

Officials would also be keen to avoid a repeat of the cancelled Test between England and India this year, after fears of an outbreak in the India camp.

India coach Ravi Shastri has since denied claims it was spread at the launch of his book in London, where he and others mingled with the public.

with AAP

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