Uncapped Ireland wicketkeeper-batsman, Neil Rock, has tested positive for Covid-19 ahead of the upcoming T20I series against the Temba Bavuma-led South Africa.
Rock, who had earned a maiden call-up to the Ireland cricket team, has been replaced by another uncapped player in 22-year-old Stephen Doheny.
Cricket Ireland confirmed the development via an official pre-release which stated that Neil Rock has been isolated and the members of the squad who had come in contact with him, will be tested again.
Meanwhile, Stephen Doheny will undergo a Covid test on Sunday and following a negative report, he will link up with the squad.
“Team management was informed of the positive result today, and Rock has been isolated from the squad as he awaits a follow-up test at the team hotel. Doheny, meanwhile, will undergo a COVID test this afternoon and – given a negative outcome – will join the squad tomorrow,” Cricket Ireland stated via a pre-release.
📡: COVID REPLACEMENT
Due to a positive test for COVID-19 in the Irish squad, a replacement player has been called up.
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— Cricket Ireland (@cricketireland) July 10, 2021
Mark Rausa, Head of Sports Science & Physiotherapy and Medical Services for Cricket Ireland, stated:
“Due to our biosecurity measures and contact tracing, we are satisfied that we do not have any genuine close contact cases and this should therefore have minimal impact on the squad. However, out of an abundance of caution due to the proximity of the series start, we will test one player and one staff member who had confirmed they spent a short amount of time with Neil with correct COViD safe precautions in place. We expect them to test negative and re-join the squad tomorrow.”
‘We do have match-winners in our team’- Ireland skipper Andy Balbirnie
Before the three-match T20I rubber, Ireland will lock horns with South Africa in three ICC ODI Super League matches.
The ODI series will kickstart at The Village in Dublin from July 11 where South Africa will go in as heavy favorites.
Irish skipper Andy Balbirnie admitted the same but also asserted that his side has quite a few match-winners who can pose a serious challenge to the Proteas.
”A lot of people on the outside will look at this and say there’s only one team winning this series, and that’s fair enough because it’s a really impressive South Africa side. I don’t have to keep harping on about how good a team they are – I think everyone knows there is a big gulf in the teams,” said Balbirnie ahead of the ODI series opener.
”But we do have match-winners in our team. We showed that last year when we played England. We maybe haven’t got the results we’d want recently, but whenever we’ve put in f a really tough challenge, we tend to come out with something. The guys are going to go out and express themselves and hopefully can come out with a good result,” he added.
The ODIs will take place on July 11, 13, and 16 before the T20I series kicks off from July 20 in Dublin.
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