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Cricket: Australia hit by more COVID cases in Pakistan

March 29, 2022 14:01 IST
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Australian all-rounder Ashton Agar was the latest player to catch COVID

IMAGE: Australian all-rounder Ashton Agar was the latest player to catch COVID. Photograph: Reuters

Australian cricketers Josh Inglis and Ashton Agar have tested positive for COVID-19 in Pakistan ahead of four white-ball internationals in Lahore over the next week, leaving the tourists facing a potential player shortage.

 

Wicketkeeper Inglis tested positive on Monday, while spinner Ashton Agar and team physio Brendan Wilson failed tests on Tuesday. All other players and staff tested negative, Cricket Australia said.

All three must isolate for five days, effectively ruling the players out of the one-day matches on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. The sole Twenty20 international follows next Tuesday.

Matthew Renshaw has been called up as batting cover but he must isolate for three days once he gets to Pakistan.

Mitch Marsh is also unavailable for Tuesday's opening one-dayer because of a hip injury, leaving Australia with only 13 players available for the contest at Gaddafi Stadium.

All-rounder Marsh injured his left hip flexor in training but scans revealed a low grade issue and CA said it was hoped he might still play a part in the rest of the tour.

Test captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, David Warner and Glenn Maxwell will be absent from the white-ball leg of the tour for various reasons.

Australia won the three-test series 1-0.

Collingwood 'amazed' by questions about Root's captaincy

England's interim head coach Paul Collingwood said he is amazed that questions are being asked about Joe Root's captaincy of the test side and that the Yorkshireman is "desperate" to get the team back to winning ways.

England have won just one of their last 17 tests and the pressure has been mounting on Root following a 4-0 Ashes series defeat by Australia and a 1-0 loss in the West Indies.

The results prompted former captains Michael Atherton, Michael Vaughan and Nasser Hussain to suggest it should be the end of the road for Root, who has signalled his desire to continue in the role.

"Sometimes it amazes me that he gets questioned, because of how it feels within the dressing room," Collingwood, who was in charge for the West Indies tour after Chris Silverwood stepped down, told British media.

"It's the first time I've experienced him as a head coach, and worked with him. You can see the passion, the drive. There's a real hunger to get it right. These aren't just words coming out of his mouth.

"He's desperate to get the team back to winning games of cricket. I can't say anything but positivity in terms of what he has done leadership wise in the dressing room, trying to move this team forward."

Collingwood said the likes of Root and all-rounder Ben Stokes had been "superb" on their Caribbean tour but added that he understood the scrutiny the team is under.

"I can see it because we're not winning games of cricket," he said.

"When you have that kind of record, I can understand where the noise comes from."

Elgar comfortable with SA players choosing IPL over B’desh Tests

Proteas Test captain Dean Elgar says he is "comfortable" with the decision of the South African players opting for the IPL instead of the red-ball series against Bangladesh as they were "put in a bit of situation" when asked to choose between the two commitments.

Earlier this month, Elgar had urged his teammates to choose national duty in a series against Bangladesh over the IPL, calling it a test of loyalty.

However, all the IPL-contracted South African players, who would have been part of the Test squad, opted to play in the league instead of turning out for the Proteas in the two-match home series against Bangladesh, which starts here on Thursday.

"I'm comfortable where I sit with the players who aren't here," Elgar was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

"I've had some really good, in-detail chats with those players just to find out where they are mentally. I'm very comfortable with the answers that they've given me."

South Africa will be missing the services of pacers Kagiso Rabada, Lungi Ngidi and Marco Jansen, as well as Anrich Nortje, who is recovering from an injury.

Batters Aiden Markram and Rassie van der Dussen are also not available for the Tests.

"I'm pretty confined with regards to what I can and can't say but the players were put in a bit of a situation with regards to making themselves available," Elgar said.

"I'm sure they wouldn't have made a rash decision if it didn't mean a hell of a lot to them. I've had conversations with players and I know where they stand with regards to the Test side and playing Test cricket.

"I think they were put in a situation that was unavoidable, bearing in mind that quite a few of the guys have never had IPL experience before. I don't think they wanted to hurt their opportunity going forward in the competition."

In the absence of the capped players, South Africa would have to make do with their "next best", according to Elgar, who feels it's a great opportunity for youngsters to shine.

"We have to make do with our next best that we have in the country, who I'm still very confident in," he said.

"Yes, we've lost a few Test caps along the way not having the IPL players with us, but it's a great opportunity for those guys to stand up and put those other players under pressure. I'm confident they can do that."

 

 

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