ZB

Covid strikes again in Black Caps squad

Author
Andrew Alderson,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jun 2022, 10:40am
Michael Bracewell of New Zealand reacts after he is hit for a six by Jonny Bairstow. Photo / Photosport
Michael Bracewell of New Zealand reacts after he is hit for a six by Jonny Bairstow. Photo / Photosport

Covid strikes again in Black Caps squad

Author
Andrew Alderson,
Publish Date
Thu, 16 Jun 2022, 10:40am

By Andrew Alderson in Nottingham

Covid is gradually dismissing each member of the New Zealand test cricket squad.

Michael Bracewell endured a five-wicket defeat to England on debut, now he has five days to mull over the loss in London isolation after returning a positive RAT.

The batting all-rounder made 49 and 25 with the bat in his maiden outing. He also took three for 62 with his off-spin from 17.2 overs in the first innings, but suffered at the hands of Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes in the second, conceding 60 runs from eight wicketless overs.

He will rejoin the squad ahead of the final test at Headingley, starting June 23.

Physiotherapist Vijay Vallabh and trainer Chris Donaldson are also infected.

The rest of the touring party will continue to be monitored for symptoms and tested as per usual between matches. Captain Kane Williamson has rejoined the team after his bout.

Coach Gary Stead said the situation is the reality of touring during the pandemic.

"Michael's obviously been a close contact of everyone else.

"It's unfortunate for him, but the symptoms are mild, he's feeling good and he'll be out of isolation when we start training again at Leeds."

Meanwhile, Blair Tickner and Dane Cleaver are due to replace the injured Kyle Jamieson and Cam Fletcher.

That prompted Stead to raise the question about whether Jamieson, who was diagnosed with a stress tension in his lower left back, should have been replaceable a la concussion or Covid rules.

"We were hampered, given it was genuine and halfway through out first bowling innings.
"Perhaps that's something that could be looked at, although we don't want to get to the point of big squads and people abusing the spirit of the game."

He was also asked whether Lockie Ferguson's an option to play tests after achieving Indian Premier League glory with Gujarat.

"We haven't considered Lockie at this stage. He hasn't played red-ball cricket for more than two years now.

"We didn't feel as though he was physically in a position to play and we wouldn't want to put him at risk.

"I wouldn't like to rule it out for the future though."

The team has moved to London for the next few days before heading north again to assemble for the third dead rubber fixture.

Stead remains confident in the world champions' approach.

"We have trust in our players, and in how we're playing the game. We just need a bit of luck. Both tests we've been in the game until the last session but failed to pick up a wicket when we needed to."

And was Stead daunted by a crowd that inspired the hosts as a virtual 12th man?

"We've experienced it on a number of occasions. It happened at Lord's, it happened here and the [2019] World Cup final. It certainly is a lift but we need to remember we're still out there competing, and that crowd can also be silenced."