The effects of COVID-19 have hindered this Ashes series three Tests in, the latest instalment a scare to the English playing group after four members of their expanded camp returned a positive rapid test in Melbourne.
Luckily it only caused a short delay to the start of play on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test.
COVID-19 protocols previously spoiled Australian captain Pat Cummins’ second Test in Adelaide after he was ruled out due to being a close contact.
Former England skipper Michael Vaughan fears for the remaining two Test matches if hard restrictions were to be imposed on the touring side.
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“They were very close to not coming to Australia because of what they’ve been through in the last 18 months,” he told Fox Cricket.
“They’ve gone through a lot.
“I know they’ve agreed to come out with the protocols that yes, they would do two weeks in Brisbane but I’m led to believe that all the organisation was that they were fine to come to Australia as long as they’d have a semi-normal life and would be able to go out and do things.
“Clearly last week the restrictions were kind of brought back again and on the back of this I’m sure they’ll (change) again. I’d be very wary of what this England side might do if restrictions are completely changed and they go back into a full bubble. I’m not sure they’d agree to that.
“In a way we’re lucky it’s here, if it was in Sydney it could have easily been called off.”
With the differing conditions in Sydney, Vaughan also questioned whether the fourth Test should be played at the MCG to eliminate the risks involved in moving the teams and safeguard the match.
“Could the next Test be played here in Melbourne under lights at the MCG on January 5 to stay in Victoria where the protocols are different to Sydney? Do we want to risk taking two teams over and broadcast crews and production staff? Then you get to the SCG and there’s one case in the team on Day 1 and the Test match is off,” he said.
“Surely CA have to be proactive… there’s the possibility that the COVID positive could spread around the side and so I think CA have to act quite quickly.
“Under the lights here at the MCG could be a real possibility.”
The proposition comes after a staff member from Seven’s coverage also tested positive in Melbourne, triggering changes to their commentary team. A similar incident with media staff also occurred in Adelaide.
Cricket Australia has today insisted that the New Year’s Test will be played in Sydney as scheduled.
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