Chris Silverwood to miss Sydney Test due to Covid-19 close contact
A family member has become the seventh positive case in the England touring squad
England head coach Chris Silverwood will miss the fourth Test in Sydney after being forced to isolate for 10 days due to a family member becoming the seventh Covid-19 case within the touring party.
Covid cases started to emerge in the England camp on December 27, the second day of the Boxing Day Test, with play delayed by half an hour when the squad underwent rapid testing which cleared them to play.
The seven cases are three support staff and four family members. No players have tested positive.
Graham Thorpe, one of England's assistant coaches, will take on Silverwood's duties for the SCG Test which is due to start on January 5.
The squad will undergo another round of PCR tests on Thursday. Both England and Australia are due to fly to Sydney via a charter flight on Friday morning. They will then stay in a hotel that has been booked exclusively for their use.
The MCG Test was able to continue after the initial positive cases in the touring group due to Victoria's looser definition of close contacts which meant only negative results were needed.
The New South Wales government has now also amended its close contact definition and has promised it will ensure the Test goes ahead even if more cases emerge in the squads.
On Thursday, New South Wales recorded 12,226 Covid-19 cases having passed 11,000 the previous day.
After Sydney, the series is set to conclude in Hobart with a day-night Test by which time Silverwood will have completed his isolation.
Despite the outbreak in the England squad, Cricket Australia has remained confident that the series can continue.
"We've seen through the last 18 months [we can get games on]," CA chief executive Nick Hockley said earlier this week. "I have to say I am so proud of the work of everybody involved, in particular thank the players but also the governments and health departments across the country. We're having to learn to live with this."