Australian left-arm spinner Ashton Agar has tested positive for Covid-19, hours before the start of the three-match One-day International (ODI) series against Pakistan at the Gaddafi Stadium here on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old Agar, who had been sidelined during the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE, was expected to partner fellow spinner Adam Zampa in the opening ODI. The Covid-positive test means that Agar becomes the second Australia cricketer to test positive in 24 hours, and be ruled out of the entire ODI series.
Australian wicketkeeper-batter Josh Inglis had tested positive on Monday along with physiotherapist Brendan Wilson. Cricket Australia (CA), however, said that all other players and support staff had returned negative tests.
Australia will field one of the most depleted white-ball sides in a long time. The tourists’ first white-ball match on Pakistan soil since 1998 is shorn of some of the biggest names, including Test captain Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and top-order batters Steve Smith and David Warner.
The side will also be missing pace bowler Jhye Richardson, who was not considered for the entire tour keeping his long-term utility in mind, while Kane Richardson suffered a hamstring injury at training in Melbourne a day before the team’s departure. Limited-overs specialist Glenn Maxwell too is missing after he got married recently.
To add to their woes, Mitchell Marsh — with 63 ODIs to his name and Australia’s second-most experienced player on the tour behind skipper Finch (132 ODIs) — has been ruled out of the first ODI and possibly the entire series due to a hip flexor injury sustained at training on Sunday.