In the aftermath of England’s Ashes defeat and the COVID debacle, captain Joe Root believes the team has an opportunity to “stand up in adversity.”
England is 3-0 down going into the fourth Test in Sydney. Head coach Chris Silverwood is one of a number of staff members who have been segregated as a result of COVID. Net bowlers and coaching reinforcements have also been withdrawn.
Coaches of pace bowling Jon Lewis and spin bowling Jeetan Patel, as well as strength and conditioning coach Darren Veness, are all absent.
Former England one-day captain Adam Hollioake was supposed to join the squad to help with coaching, but he was pulled out owing to a COVID close contact.
The tourists’ training session was disrupted on Sunday when a local net bowler tested positive, prompting the withdrawal of all net bowlers.
All of England’s backroom staff, including the media manager and medical staff, have participated in training sessions, with some players even mentoring one another.
England lost the Ashes series at the earliest feasible chance after losing by an innings in the third Test in Melbourne.
On Wednesday, Root will captain England for the 60th time in a Test match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, breaking Alastair Cook’s record of 59. Root has now led three Ashes series without a victory, and he would not be drawn on his future as a captain in the immediate aftermath of the Melbourne setback.
Since then, all-rounders Chris Woakes and Ben Stokes, England’s vice-captain and most likely replacement, have backed him up. When pressed again, Root deferred any further explanation of his participation. Meanwhile, Australia’s vice-captain, Steve Smith, admitted pace bowler Stuart Broad’s minor contribution in the series had shocked the hosts.
Broad, England’s second-highest Test wicket-taker, has only played one of the first three Tests, losing out on surfaces that would have suited his approach more in Brisbane and Melbourne.
Cricket Australia’s chief executive, Nick Hockley, tested positive for COVID-19, but the governing body stated that he had no direct interaction with either side.
Only one player on either team has tested positive for COVID-19 during the Ashes, Australia batter Travis Head, who will miss the fourth Test.