The 2022 ICC Women’s World Cup is slated to start from March 4 at the Bay Oval, Mount Maunganui with the hosts New Zealand taking on West Indies. Ahead of the big event, team Australia has suffered a huge blow as one of their star allrounder has been found Covid-19 positive.
Cricket Australia (CA) has confirmed that Ashleigh Gardner has returned a positive result for Covid-19 and will miss at least the first two matches of the tournament that Australia will play against England and Pakistan. The Aussies will start their tournament against arch rivals England on March 5 to be played at Seddon Park, Hamilton. In their second match, Australia will go head to head with Pakistan on March 8.
CA confirms that other Aussie players have tested negative
The board in a statement has also confirmed that all other players in the squad have tested negative.
“All remaining Australian players and support staff have tested negative following subsequent RATs. (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,” said Cricket Australia in a statement.
In January, Gardner was felicitated with the Belinda Clark Award, being deemed Australia’s best women’s cricketer over the last one year. The right-handed batter scored 281 runs at a good average of 35.1 across all three formats in the previous year.
The vice-captain of the squad Rachael Haynes has also expressed her disappointment on the matter. “We’ve managed to dodge COVID within our group over the last couple of years, and I guess to have a positive case on the eve of the first game isn’t ideal,” Haynes told ABC News.
“I spoke to Ash yesterday and obviously she’s really disappointed but she’s feeling OK, which is obviously important from a health perspective,” she added.