England head coach Chris Silverwood with Joe Root and Stuart Broad
England head coach Chris Silverwood with Joe Root and Stuart Broad Image Credit: AP

England’s Ashes woes are mounting even further as head coach Chris Silverwood has tested positive for Covid-19.

Silverwood was isolating in a Melbourne hotel since Thursday after a member of his family returned a positive test. But now the 46-year-old has also tested positive. He is asymptomatic and will stay in isolation until January 8.

Silverwood was already ruled out of being present for the Sydney Ashes Test, beginning on Monday. England are already 3-0 down on the five-Test series.

Former Australia pacer Jason Gillespie has huge sympathy for Silverwood, saying he understands the feelings when teams don’t do well. Silverwood has come under the scanner after England lost the Ashes in just 12 playing days.

“Coaching can be a very lonely place when things are not going great,’ Gillespie wrote in the Daily Mail. “I understand the feelings when teams I’ve coached have not performed as we’d have liked. And the fact Chris has to miss this upcoming Test because of COVID, on top of all the scrutiny of the tour, just makes me feel terrible for him. I’m sure he is getting all the support he can get. That is vitally important.”

Gillespie, who has coached county sides Surrey and Yorkshire in the past, felt sorry for England’s pacers not getting much time to rest their legs in the series. “I do believe England have had their moments in this series, despite the scoreline,” he said. “I just feel sorry for the bowlers, who barely get a chance to put their feet up before they’re out in the middle again. That’s tiring and demoralising for any attack and across five Tests it can be debilitating.”

“It’s why I thought Australia played it perfectly at Adelaide, where they chose not to enforce the follow-on and instead put more overs in the English bowlers’ legs. When you’ve got a struggling batting line-up, as England have, there’s really no respite for your attack.”