ICC T20 World Cup: Matthew Wade tests positive for COVID-19
Matthew Wade has tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Australia's ICC T20 World Cup 2022 match against England. He is the second Australian player after Adam Zampa to contract the virus in the ongoing tournament. It is indeed a major blow for the Aussies as Wade is the only specialist wicket-keeper in the squad. Wade, however, can still play as per ICC's norms.
Why does this story matter?
- Host Australia will take on their arch-rivals England at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on October 28.
- After testing positive, Wade did not participate in Australia's optional indoor session at the Junction Oval on Thursday afternoon.
- His symptoms are minor and he is likely to feature in the England game despite contracting the virus.
- The Aussie team management, however, will need to follow certain guidelines.
What do the norms say?
As per ICC's guidelines, Wade will need to travel to the venue separately. He will not be able to use the team's change room prior or during the game. However, Australia's concern would be to restrict the flow of virus as two of their players have tested positive. Meanwhile, Zampa has tested negative and is likely to take the field against England.
Who can keep in Wade's absence?
Notably, Australia's initial 15-member squad had two specialist keepers - Wade and Josh Inglis. The latter got injured prior to Australia's opener and instead of including another keeper, the selectors went with the in-form all-rounder Cameron Green. Captain Aaron Finch has previously suggested that David Warner would keep in Wade's absence. Finch himself has served as a keeper in the Big Bash League.
Wade has been in impressive form lately
Hero of Australia's semi-final triumph against Pakistan in last year's T20 WC, Wade has been in sublime touch in 2022. The 34-year-old has so far scored 276 runs in 18 T20Is this year with his average and strike rate being 55.20 and 148.38, respectively. Hence, the defending champions would not like to miss out on his services in the crucial game.
Australia's performance so far
Australia suffered an 89-run defeat against New Zealand in their opener. Although the hosts seemed struggling in their next clash against Sri Lanka as well, they recorded a seven-wicket win. Another defeat in the group stage might hinder their plans of qualifying for the semi-finals. The game will also be crucial for England as they lost to Ireland in their previous outing.