Australia’s second one-day international against the West Indies in the Caribbean has been postponed in bizarre and dramatic circumstances before a ball could be bowled after one of the host’s backroom staff tested positive for Covid-19.
The teams had been named, the captains had tossed up and Australia were ready to bat at the Kensington Oval in Barbados on Thursday when a halt was suddenly called to proceedings moments before the first ball was due to be bowled.
Amid a brief and confusing delay for onlookers while the players, support staff and match officials retreated to their dressing rooms, the International Cricket Council then announced in a statement on Twitter the match had been suspended.
“The second ODI between West Indies and Australia has been suspended with immediate effect due to a positive Covid-19 case,” the governing body declared. “All personnel inside the bubble will be placed into isolation.”
Cricket West Indies later confirmed that the positive test had been given by “a non-playing member” on their staff, and explained that the test result had not been known until after the toss had taken pace.
“The established Covid-19 protocols stipulate that all members of both teams and match officials will return immediately to the team hotel and will be re-tested later today,” said a statement from CWI.
“They will remain in isolation in their hotel rooms until their PCR test results are returned. A decision on when the match will be replayed will be made at a later date once all the test results are confirmed.”
Australia had won the opening game of the three-match series on Tuesday but there must now be a serious question mark over whether the series can be completed, with the final ODI scheduled for Saturday.
The Australians are then supposed to be heading to Bangladesh for the five-match T20 international series that was confirmed on Wednesday.
Johnny Grave, the Cricket West Indies CEO, said it was hoped that the results of the fresh round of tests would be known by Friday morning.
A Cricket Australia spokesman added: “The Australian squad has returned to the team hotel and is in in-room isolation. No further comment will be made at this stage.”
The two teams have been staying on separate floors of the hotels in both St Lucia and Barbados where the pening two matches have been scheduled, but all of them travelled on the same charter plane between the islands last Saturday.
Riley Meredith had been due to make his ODI debut and had received his cap from Aaron Finch only minutes before news of the positive case emerged.
This is the first time that the coronavirus has affected Australia during a series, with the team having toured England and New Zealand with no problems. They also hosted India with success last summer.