Australian great Shane Warne has tested positive for COVID-19. Warne, who is head coach of the London Spirit in the ‘Hundred’ was found positive in a rapid antigen test after he complained of not feeling well ahead of his team’s fixture against Southern Brave on Sunday. Warne along with an unnamed person, who also tested positive, was immediately forced into isolation.
Notably, Warne is the second coach in the tournament to return positive for COVID-19. Earlier, Trent Rockets’ head coach Andy Flower had tested positive for the virus about three weeks ago. The COVID-19 cases in England are once again on the rise. England’s full squad for the ODI series against Pakistan was forced into isolation after seven members of their contingent tested positive for COVID-19.
Later, Sri Lanka coach Andy Flower, who had travelled to England for his team’s limited overs series against the Three Lions, returned positive days after returning from England. Also, Indian wicketkeeper-batter Rishabh Pant returned COVID positive and had to miss India’s warm-up game against County XI ahead of his team’s five-match Test series against the hosts. The ECB is planning to host the England- India Test series in front of full capacity crowd but the recent developments may force them to give a second thought.
Meanwhile, former Australia skipper Ian Chappell feels the 'Hundred' has been looked as something that can get cricket into Olympics. However, he feels that T20 could also force cricket into Olympics and there was no need to introduce a format such as this as it will only force the players to focus on numbers.
“Apart from reducing the number of balls to obtain a terrestrial television deal, the reasoning behind the Hundred could well be that it improves the chances of cricket fulfilling the Olympic dream. This is often cited as a way to spread the game’s popularity to a wider audience. Surely the T20 format could achieve that same outcome without yet another reduction,” said Chappell.