Australia, who are struggling to defend their title at home at the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022, have been dealt a major blow as their only wicketkeeper in the squad, Matthew Wade has tested positive for COVID-19. The wicketkeeper batter returned a positive test on Wednesday evening. This is the second COVID-19 case in the Australian camp with leg-spinner Adam Zampa falling prey to the virus earlier.
Cricket Australia has said that Wade has only minor symptoms and, unless his condition deteriorates, is still expected to feature in Friday's high-stakes match against England at the MCG on Friday (28 October). However, if the 34-year-old fails to meet the required fitness level to play in a match, Australia will be left with no option but to field an XI without a regular wicketkeeper.
As the backup wicketkeeper, Josh Inglis was ruled out of the tournament with an injury, the defending champions can rely on either David Warner or Aaron Finch to don the wicketkeeping gloves. Notably, both players have done the job in unavoidable circumstances for their team. While Warner kept wickets in a Test match, Finch has done it in the Big Bash League. Glenn Maxwell also did drills with assistant coach Andre Borovec at the Junction Oval indoor nets on Thursday afternoon.
Meanwhile, Wade will need to travel to the ground separate from the rest of the squad and will not be able to use the team changeroom prior to or during the game to avoid the spread of the virus amongst other players. Adam Zampa, who was the first virus-hit member has returned multiple negative tests in recent days and was bowling in the nets at the Junction on Thursday in a strong sign he will be right to resume his place in Australia's XI.
Notably, Australia and England will play a virtual knockout match at the MCG with both teams ending up with contrasting results in their first two games. While Australia suffered a massive defeat against New Zealand, England were stunned by Ireland who beat the 2010 champions in a rain-hit game by five runs (D/L method).