The Roar
The Roar


Head cleared of COVID but two test positive, Cummins backs Smith, Marnus to 'have a big impact'

Travis Head. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)
24th January, 2024

Allrounder Cameron Green and coach Andrew McDonald are the latest members of Australia’s squad to test positive to COVID-19.

Batter Travis Head contracted the virus after the first Test against West Indies in Adelaide but tested negative on Tuesday after flying to Brisbane on his own ahead of the second match of the series at the Gabba.

Head joined the squad for training on Wednesday afternoon and is free to take part in the Test that starts on Thursday without any restrictions.

Green and McDonald will be separated from the group until they return a negative test.

In line with Cricket Australia protocols, Green and McDonald will be able to play their part in the Test even if they do not return negative results in the next 24 hours.

Australia lead the two-Test series 1-0 after winning the first match in Adelaide by 10 wickets.

The Test at the Gabba is a day-night affair, and Australia captain Pat Cummins said the hosts’ familiarity with utilising the pink ball could work to their advantage.

“No doubt playing a pink-ball Test almost every year, and some Shield cricket over the years with the pink ball, helps us familiarise ourselves … perhaps better than oppositions can, just by experience,” he said. 

Head will be fit to slot into a batting order that skipper Pat Cummins expects to find its groove in the second Test against West Indies at the Gabba.


After a match-winning century in the first Test in Adelaide, Head subsequently contracted COVID-19 but Cummins said the 30-year-old was progressing well in his recovery.

“He’s almost out of it. He’s fine and feeling good,” Cummins said of Head yesterday.

“He’ll train tonight. Even if he’s still (testing) positive he can play. There will just be a few protocols but he’s pretty close to a negative.”

Key batters Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne are yet to score Test centuries this summer but Cummins said he sensed that was about to change at the Gabba.

ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 18: Travis Head of Australia bats during day two of the First Test in the Mens Test match series between Australia and West Indies at Adelaide Oval on January 18, 2024 in Adelaide, Australia. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Travis Head. (Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images)

Winning the series 2-0 is the most immediate concern, but Australia have a challenging two-Test series against New Zealand next month in which it will be imperative the gun duo are firing.

“You see how hard they work in the nets and even the way they have gone about their innings they look like piling on a big 100 or 200 like we have seen them do in the past,” Cummins said.


“Smithy in particular last week looked really sharp up the top but just got a good ball. It feels like they are poised to have a big impact.

“This summer we are looking at it as a seven-Test summer. Away series are always the hardest ones to win so that two-match series against New Zealand is going to be huge.

“We’ll focus on this week, but we do have a bit of an eye to getting all our players through and making sure they are firing for that New Zealand series.”

The Test at the Gabba will start with the looming aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Kirrily set to make its presence felt.

Rain is forecast from Saturday so making headway towards a quick victory may be paramount for Australia with vital World Test Championship points up for grabs.

Last summer’s Test against South Africa at the Gabba was over inside two days on a green top.


The first Test against West Indies only just went into the third day and Cummins said he was enjoying the ball dominating the bat for a change.

“I’ve played in Tests that have fizzled out into a five-day draw and everyone walks away feeling a bit empty,” he said.

“Whereas I’ve played in two or three-day matches where everyone can’t take their eyes off the TV for a minute.

“Ideally, you want it to go a bit longer than two days but you want it to be a good contest between bat and ball.

“A couple of the Tests this summer have been fantastic, feels like every session has importance and any side can win.”