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T20 World Cup: Australia coach McDonald fears more Covid-19 cases in squad ahead of must-win matches

IANS | October 29, 2022 01:57 PM

SYDNEY: Australia coach Andrew McDonald believes more Covid-19 cases could crop up within their T20 World Cup squad ahead of must-win matches against Ireland and Afghanistan.

The sight of a masked-up Matthew Wade on Friday evening interacting with teammates from a distance at the MCG during rain delays may have been jarring for some in a country that had, until recently, enforced some of the world's strictest bio-security rules.

Speaking about the rising number of Covid-19 cases amongst players at the ongoing ICC Men's T20 World Cup, McDonald said it's possible that more cases could crop up in his squad.

"He's been tucked away in a change room by himself, which he would hate because he needs people around him to keep him entertained, " captain Aaron Finch told the host broadcaster on Friday.

Finch appeared at one stage to use his hoodie to cover his mouth while talking to his vice-captain in Melbourne, the city that endured 262 days of lockdown during the pandemic.

The federal government ditched mandatory isolation requirements earlier this month for positive cases and ICC regulations now permit those who test positive to the virus to continue playing.

And Australia coach Andrew McDonald suggested further cases may be inevitable.

"That's highly possible, really, the way it's gone, " McDonald told reporters after the washout.

"The strong point around that was that Matthew Wade was going to play tonight(Friday) - so each individual is affected differently by the virus. Obviously, Adam Zampa wasn't quite right. We (took) caution there to make sure he was ready to go for this game whereas Matthew Wade responded totally differently, less symptoms and he was ready."

"He had to be isolated from the group, that was probably the only thing where we had to communicate separately from him, which is a little bit unique. But yeah, it's a real possibility for all teams."

Under ICC playing conditions for the tournament, Australia could temporarily replace Wade in their squad with a specialist keeper but the 34-year-old would not be able to play in matches again until he returns a negative PCR test.

"It was probably inevitable that it would happen at some stage, " Finch said of their positive cases. "The last couple of years we've been really fortunate that we've looked after ourselves and we haven't had many Covid cases."

Australia squad: Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Aaron Finch (c), Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa

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