Pat Cummins out of second Ashes Test after link to Covid-19 case

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Pat Cummins, pictured here speaking to the media at the Adelaide Oval.
Pat Cummins speaks to the media at the Adelaide Oval. (Photo by Sarah Reed/Getty Images)

Aussie captain Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide after he was linked to a positive Covid case.

Cummins was at a restaurant for dinner on Wednesday night when a person at the table next to him was identified as a positive case.

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

However on Thursday afternoon the Australian captain was deemed a close contact by health authorities and will be forced to miss the day-night Test while he isolates for seven days.

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)."

Players are not in strict bubbles for the Adelaide Test and there is no suggestion Cummins has broken any protocols.

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.

Steve Smith will now captain Australia for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018.

Smith was elevated to vice-captain when Cummins was handed the captaincy in the wake of Tim Paine's sexting scandal.

Michael Neser - who initially lost out to Jhye Richardson to replace the injured Josh Hazlewood - will now earn his Test debut, while Travis Head is the new vice-captain.

Steve Smith to captain Australia again

Seeing Smith back as captain of Australia will be triggering for some, with Aussie legend Shane Warne highly critical of the move to hand him the vice-captaincy.

“We all love Steve Smith and are proud that he’s the best Test batsmen in the world again,” Warne wrote for the Herald Sun recently.

“But he should not be the Australia vice-captain.

“Everyone makes mistakes, we know that and we’ve all moved on from sandpaper-gate. But what happened under Steve Smith’s captaincy, he allowed that to happen on his watch.

“I think the punishment he was given was way too severe, which I said at the time. He paid a huge price for his mistake.

David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins, pictured here before the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.
David Warner, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins look on before the first Ashes Test at the Gabba. (Photo by Albert Perez - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)†

“But his second chance is getting to play for Australia again and in my opinion announcing him as vice-captain opens up CA for ridicule and criticism, and they should throw the code of conduct out the window.”

Cummins captained Australia for the first time in the first Ashes Test in Brisbane last week, which Australia won by nine wickets.

"Just about everyone in our XI got into the series and really contributed at some stage in that game, so it went perfectly for us," he said on Wednesday.

"No doubt that is not going to happen every game, it's certainly not going to happen (throughout) this series I am sure.

"We couldn't be happier with the start - but knowing that it is only one match in a five-match series."

Cummins found the captaincy wasn't a burden on his bowling - evidenced by taking seven wickets in the match, including 5-38 in England's first innings.

with AAP

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