Khawaja passes last concussion test, Head has COVID

Scott Bailey |

Usman Khawaja has passed his final concussion check and is free to play in the second Test.
Usman Khawaja has passed his final concussion check and is free to play in the second Test.

Usman Khawaja has passed a final concussion check and Australia are confident both he and Travis Head will play at the Gabba despite the latter battling COVID-19.

Three days after being struck in the jaw during the first Test in Adelaide, Khawaja was given the all-clear by Australia’s medical staff on Monday to play the second Test against the West Indies.

Tested daily since being hit by a nasty Shamar Joseph delivery, Khawaja has shown no signs of delayed concussion symptoms and will be fine to play at the Gabba.

It means he will be able to train during Australia’s main session on Tuesday, before the start of the final Test of the summer on Thursday.

The attention has now moved to what role Head will play in the lead-up to the match.

Travis Head
Travis Head has COVID-19 but will still play in the second Test against the West Indies. (Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS)

The South Australian has tested positive since Australia’s win in Adelaide, where he was named player of the match for his game-changing century.

It is expected the 30-year-old will make his way to Brisbane on Tuesday, and if still positive on Thursday he will play under COVID-19 protocols.

Those protocols would likely be the same enforced on Matt Renshaw during last year’s Sydney Test, where the Queenslander tested positive after the toss.

Protocols would include Head sitting away from the rest of the team while waiting to bat, having his own dressing room, and not touching teammates in on-field celebrations.

Officials hope it will not come to that, given the time frame between last week’s Adelaide Test and the first ball in Brisbane on Thursday.

It is the second time Head has battled the virus during an Australian Test summer.

The left-hander became the first Australian to miss a match after testing positive to the virus during the 2021-22 Ashes.

His absence proved crucial in the development of the Australian team, with Khawaja seizing his chance while filling in for Head with twin tons at the SCG. 

There is no longer a requirement for players to sit out matches with the virus, but a substitute is available if they fall too ill during a Test.