Australia suffered a setback ahead of the ICC Women`s World Cup in New Zealand with key all-rounder Ashleigh Gardner unavailable for 10 days after testing positive for the Covid-19 virus. The star all-rounder will miss the first two matches in Australia`s ODI World Cup campaign as she has gone into 10-day isolation here in line with the New Zealand government`s health protocols.
Thus the 24-year-old will not be available for the matches against England (March 5) and Pakistan (March 8). Australia`s third match of the tournament is against New Zealand on March 13 in Wellington, the day after Gardner is due to be released from isolation, cricket.com.au reported on Thursday. The possible replacements for Gardner, who struck 60 off 32 balls in Australia`s second warm-up match against New Zealand on Tuesday, include pace-bowling all-rounder Annabel Sutherland and fellow spin-bowling all-rounder, Grace Harris, the report said. She was the only Australian player to test positive for Covid.
“All remaining Australian players and support staff have tested negative following subsequent RATs,” Cricket Australia said in a statement. “(They) will proceed with existing plans to travel to Hamilton this evening ahead of the side`s opening match of the ICC Women`s Cricket World Cup against England on Saturday.”
The World Cup will begin on Friday amidst a renewed surge in daily cases in New Zealand. Daily case numbers of Covid-19 in New Zealand rose beyond 22,000 this week as the country experiences its biggest surge of the virus since the pandemic began.
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