Aussie skipper Mitch Marsh tests positive for COVID-19 ahead of T20 series opener

  • Marsh comes down with COVID-19 on eve of series opener
  • The Aussie captain will still line up despite a positive test result
  • He is the third person to come down with COVID-19 in as many weeks

Australian T20 captain Mitch Marsh may have to shout instructions to his teammates in the first T20 against West Indies in Hobart after testing positive for Covid on the eve of Friday’s clash.

Team-mate Matthew Wade took his place at a media call on Thursday, confirming the Australians ‘expect him to play’ after he skipped match-night training to prepare to play a visiting side bolstered by reinforcements arriving in three ODIs were humiliated 3-0.

Former captain and all-rounder Jason Holder and global T20 star Andre Russell are among those joining Windies for the three-match series, having narrowed their 2024 focus to peaking for a home World Cup, with the T20 tournament being held in the Caribbean and the USA in June and July.

The matches also mark the launch of Australia’s World Cup preparations with veteran opener David Warner joining the squad after a shock spell in the ILT20 in the United Arab Emirates, during which the 37-year-old managed just 115 runs in eight innings as captain of the Dubai Capitals.

Now a lone T20 player for Australia, Warner faced 117 balls, hitting just seven fours and three sixes, with a high score of 42 and six scores of 20 or less, including three in single figures and the spotlight is on him with players including Travis Head, Josh Inglis and Matt Short playing not just to be his opening partner at the World Cup but to potentially push him out.

Australian captain Mitchell Marsh has come down with COVID-19

Australian captain Mitchell Marsh has come down with COVID-19

Marsh is still expected to play and will keep his distance from others on the field

Marsh is still expected to play and will keep his distance from others on the field

Glenn Maxwell is also back in Australia, his first outing since being hospitalized in Adelaide.

However, the Windies T20 outfit is a different challenge to their ODI outfit, and that is not lost on Wade, who said the three-match series was crucial for the Australians to get ‘our combinations’ together months out the World Cup tournament, which is held. in the Caribbean and the USA.

“They have world-class players coming back,” Wade said of the visitors.

‘If you look through their line-up, there are guys who have done well in franchise cricket over a long period of time.

“They’re a completely different animal in T20s, that’s kind of where a lot of these guys have made their name in the last four or five years.

‘It’s exciting to get the boys back together leading up to a World Cup. It is important for us to start getting our combinations together.

“We’re dealing with it just like everyone else has been for the last two or three years.”

The West Aussie won the prestigious Allan Border Medal last week

The West Aussie won the prestigious Allan Border Medal last week

Marsh will follow Cricket Australia’s protocols, which include working from a different dressing room, and keeping his distance on the field.

That can make it difficult to lead the team, but Wade says teams have gotten used to dealing with it.

“He (Marsh) went rogue yesterday, he’s rested enough to train today, and we expect him to play,” he said.

“We’re dealing with it just like everyone else has been for the last two or three years.”

Marsh’s presence is crucial as the match is the first of six T20 matches, with three more coming against New Zealand, to prepare for the World Cup title defence.

Selectors have not locked in a permanent captaincy replacement for Aaron Finch, who led Australia to World Cup victory in 2021, where Marsh was player of the final.

But Marsh was selected as captain for the three matches against the Windies and three against the Kiwis despite the presence of Test captain Pat Cummins and his vice-captains Steve Smith and Travis Head.

Marsh’s stature in the Australian cricket family was enhanced last week when he was crowned the Allan Border Medalist for the first time after a fine 2023 that saw his Test return with a century in the Ashes and a mammoth innings of 177 against Bangladesh at the ODI included. Cup in India.