Ashes 2021-22: Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley tests positive for Covid-19

On the eve of the Sydney Test, Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley is the latest big name from the sport to have tested positive for Covid.

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley has tested positive to Covid-19 but has had no contact with players.

Hockley has stayed well away from the camp during the series, but can no longer come to his home Test in Sydney after developing mild symptoms.

After getting immediately tested, Cricket Australia said Hockley has received a positive result and is isolating with his family at home.

“After experiencing mild symptoms, I immediately got a PCR test which has since returned a positive result. I am isolating at home with my family, who have returned negative results,” said Hockley.

“Over recent days, we have seen cases in relation to the Australian men’s Ashes team and some of the BBL teams.

“It is a reminder of the complexity Covid-19 presents for major sporting events and the importance of being vaccinated, getting a booster as soon as possible and getting tested as soon as symptoms present themselves.”

Nick Hockley has tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: Getty Images
Nick Hockley has tested positive for Covid-19. Picture: Getty Images

PIGEON TAKE-DOWN JUST TIP OF SYDNEY TEST COVID DRAMAS

Covid is engulfing the Sydney Test which has become a bizarre of mixture of public freedom and private pain.

Glenn McGrath is the face of the pink Test which honours his late wife Jane, and he could miss the entire match at the SCG after testing positive to Covid-19.

It’s understood several big name commentators will also be missing in action after testing positive, while the chaos surrounding the Test was further summed up by a drama around a net bowler who was dramatically withdrawn from bowling to England players at practice on Sunday.

Glenn McGrath could miss the entire match at the SCG after testing positive to Covid-19. Picture: Phil Hillyard/NCA
Glenn McGrath could miss the entire match at the SCG after testing positive to Covid-19. Picture: Phil Hillyard/NCA

In contrast, the SCG is expecting big crowds throughout the iconic Test where masks won’t be required by the fans (while outdoors) trying to enjoy the simple pleasures that have been taken away from them over the past two years of the pandemic.

McGrath was meant to attend a launch function at the SCG on Monday to reveal the latest plans around the pink Test, but must now isolate after returning a positive PCR result.

It is hoped that if McGrath can recover and return a negative Test he will be able to attend the third day of play on Friday when he was scheduled to participate in the Jane McGrath walk to raise money for breast cancer.

“Glenn has had a PCR test which unfortunately returned a positive result. We wish Glenn and his family good health,” McGrath Foundation chief executive Holly Masters said.

“We are hopeful Glenn will remain well and return a negative result in time to attend Day 3 of the Pink Test, now known as Jane McGrath Day on 7 January.

McGrath may be a chance to attend Day 3 of the Pink Test, now known as Jane McGrath Day, if he can return a negative result in time. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP
McGrath may be a chance to attend Day 3 of the Pink Test, now known as Jane McGrath Day, if he can return a negative result in time. Picture: Dan Himbrechts/AAP

“We are grateful to our partners at Cricket Australia and the SCG, as well as the England Cricket team and the broadcasters for their ongoing support for the Pink Test and look forward to still making this the ‘pinkest’ Ashes.”

The news of McGrath’s absence came as England’s training session was disrupted due to a lack of net bowlers after they were deemed a Covid risk.

It was unclear whether one of the net bowlers himself was positive, or whether they were deemed close contacts of a positive case or their withdrawal was because test results hadn’t been received.

The England camp was miffed that the net bowlers could be allowed out onto the middle to bowl to players without checks being completed.

Australia’s opener Marcus Harris and standby players Mitchell Marsh and Josh Inglis drove themselves from Melbourne to Sydney to join the camp after being kept away from a charter flight on Friday as a precaution.

Harris had been a close contact of batsman Travis Head who tested positive to Covid and is out of the Test — but so far no other members of the Australian touring party have tested positive in a major relief.

Both the Australia and England camps are undertaking regular Covid testing to avoid the Ashes series being suspended due to outbreaks within each team.

Head was forced to remain in Melbourne after he returned a positive sample two days ago while England coach Chris Silverwood — along with most of his assistants — was also forced to miss the fourth Test in Sydney after he was deemed a close contact when a family member tested positive.

England had even invited in Brisbane-based former player Adam Holioake to help provide coaching support, but even he was forced to withdraw after being identified as a close contact at the last minute.

England opener Zak Crawley says he and his teammates are being tested every day. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images
England opener Zak Crawley says he and his teammates are being tested every day. Picture: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

England opener Zak Crawley admits he would feel better about going into a bubble, but couldn’t speak for teammates — with Cricket Australia still determined to provide the teams their freedoms.

“Obviously every positive case is not a good thing. But we are only dealing with the facts at the moment and getting tested every day,” said England opener, Zak Crawley.

“The doctors say we are in a good place to carry on and we have to back that. I’m concentrating on what I have to do and so are all the lads. We are focused on the game.

“We’ve had a lot of support staff missing, but the lads have all worked together today, we’ve tried to all help out, we’ve all pulled together and have pulled through I think.

“Personally I would (be happy with a bubble). We haven’t got long left. I can’t speak for everyone but I want to play the two Tests. I don’t want a situation where I miss a Test.”

Pigeon’s Covid nightmare could shatter Pink Test dream

Australian Test great Glenn McGrath could miss the entire pink Test at the SCG in honour of his late wife Jane after testing positive to Covid.

McGrath was meant to attend a launch function at the SCG on Monday to reveal the latest plans around the pink Test, but must now isolate after returning a positive PCR result.

It is hoped that if McGrath can recover and return a negative Test he will be able to attend the third day of play on Friday when he was scheduled to participate in the Jane McGrath walk.

“Glenn has had a PCR test which unfortunately returned a positive result. We wish Glenn and his family good health,” McGrath Foundation CEO Holly Masters said.

“We are hopeful Glenn will remain well and return a negative result in time to attend Day 3 of the Pink Test, now known as Jane McGrath Day on 7 January.

“We are grateful to our partners at Cricket Australia and the SCG, as well as the England Cricket team and the broadcasters for their ongoing support for the Pink Test and look forward to still making this the ‘pinkest’ Ashes.”

McGrath with the pink caps at the 2020 Test. Picture: AAP
McGrath with the pink caps at the 2020 Test. Picture: AAP

The news of McGrath’s absence comes amid reports the England training session on Sunday was disrupted due to a lack of net bowlers after they were deemed close contacts of a positive case.

Both the Australia and England camps are undertaking regular Covid testing to avoid the Ashes series being postponed due to outbreaks within each team.

Australian batter Travis Head was forced to remain in Melbourne after he returned a positive sample two days ago while England coach Chris Silverwood was also forced to miss the fourth Test in Sydney after he was deemed a close contact when a family member tested positive.

Originally published as Ashes 2021-22: Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley tests positive for Covid-19

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