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.
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".
It is "absurd" Pat Cummins can't play in the Second #Ashes Test, says @DeeDeeDunleavy
"He's not a close contact, he's a casual contact.
"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." https://t.co/W1RHF7uXx4
— 3AW Melbourne (@3AW693) December 16, 2021
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.
— Shane McInnes (@shanemcinnes) December 16, 2021
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.👇 https://t.co/SUObqW2yxO
— Daniel Garb (@DanielGarb) December 16, 2021
Pat Cummins is vax and tests negative. Still can’t play, what a joke
— Ethan (@ethanmaguire19) December 16, 2021
I seriously cannot believe that Pat Cummins will miss this test.
I went to The Voice at Fox studio last week & everyone had a Covid test at the venue.
It really is farcical.
— The Oracle (@BigOtrivia) December 16, 2021
If he returned a negative PCR test then why on earth does he have to isolate? All these covid rules are so stupid.
— Travis (@Travman9507) December 16, 2021
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.
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.
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