Pat Cummins will miss second Test after contact with Covid case

Australian captain Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the Adelaide Test after being identified as a close contact of a positive Covid-19 case.

Pat Cummins has been caught up in a Covid scare. Picture: Getty Images
Pat Cummins has been caught up in a Covid scare. Picture: Getty Images

STEVE Smith has arrived at Adelaide Oval as Australian Test captain once more, after Pat Cummins was sensationally ruled out after being identified as a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case.

Cummins was dining with NSW and Adelaide Strikers star and former housemate Harry Conway, who has also been deemed a close contact and forced to isolate.

It's understood one of Conway's friends, a grade cricketer from Sydney, came over to the table to say hi, before receiving a message a short time later saying he had tested positive to COVID-19 — at which time he immediately left the restaurant.

Another member of that other group later came to inform Cummins and Conway, who at that point immediately left the restaurant.

Despite the stunning development on match morning, the bombshell could have been even bigger as Australia dodged losing its entire bowling attack, with Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon at the same restaurant, but sitting outside and not deemed close contacts.

It means Australia are now going in with their third Test captain in as many matches following an extraordinary sequence of events.

Smith makes a stunning return as captain three and a half years after Sandpapergate, with Cummins now forced to isolate for the next seven days.

Travis Head has been named vice-captain.

Michael Neser from Queensland will be called into make his Test debut in the attack, while Australia was on Wednesday night looking at flying Queensland quick Mark Steketee and Victorian Scott Boland down to join the squad as back ups.

Cummins attended the Adelaide restaurant on Wednesday night with a friend from NSW.

News Corp understands a group of club cricketers from Sydney were dining at the same establishment.

They were not, as earlier reported, at the adjoining table.

One of the club cricketers received a message that his Covid test had come back positive and left, but his friends remained.

South Australia had until last weekend insisted that visitors isolate until the test results arrived but eased restrictions ahead of the Test.

Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second Test in Adelaide. Picture: AFP Images
Pat Cummins has been ruled out of the second Test in Adelaide. Picture: AFP Images

Cummins was unaware of the events until one of the man’s friends informed him what had happened. He immediately left and was tested by the team doctor.

The Test captain broke no rules because players are allowed to dine indoors as long as it’s in small groups.

“We anticipate that he will be available to play in the third Test at the MCG in Melbourne,” said a CA statement.

“Cummins is understandably very disappointed not to be able to captain Australia for the day-night Test in Adelaide.”

Australia could very nearly have lost their entire bowling attack, with Starc and Lyon at the same restaurant.

However, they were seated outdoors and SA Health has deemed them casual contacts not close contacts, and they are free to play.

It remains to be seen whether players will be forced into a bubble for the rest of the Test, given they are all sitting ducks to being forced into isolation for seven days if they are deemed close contacts.

South Australia’s strict Government health rules are that close contacts have to isolate.

There was a similar scare in Adelaide last summer when Mitchell Starc was in doubt to play the Test because he’d been in the Northern Beaches of Sydney before a breakout of cases – however he was eventually cleared.

Originally published as Pat Cummins will miss second Test after contact with Covid case