Three members of New Zealand’s touring party in England have tested positive for COVID-19, namely fast bowler Blair Tickner, middle-order batter Henry Nicholls, and bowling coach Shane Jurgensen. A media release from NZC confirmed the same.
The trio tested positive after undergoing the rapid antigen tests on Friday morning and have begun their five-day isolation. However, the visitors’ four-day warm-up match (May 20 – May 23) against Sussex ahead of the three-Test series will go ahead as scheduled.
Nicholls, a key member of Kiwis’ middle-order in red-ball cricket, was already dealing with injury issues. The southpaw sustained a grade-one strain to his right calf while running drills during a pre-training camp in Mount Maunganui earlier this month.
However, he received clearance to travel to England with the Test team. Nicholls is likely to miss both the practice matches and faces a tight race to be fit for the opening game in London.
Meanwhile, Tickner is yet to make his Test debut but has featured in two ODIs and eight T20Is. The right-arm speedster most recently participated in the ODI series against the Netherlands.
Jurgensen is in his second stint with the national team, having previously played for them between 2008-2010. He has been in this role since 2016.
New Zealand to play their second warm-up game against FCC
Kane Williamson and Co. will face FCC XI in their second warm-up match on May 26th. The Black Caps and England will play three Tests in Lord’s, Nottingham, and Headingley, with the first beginning on June 2. The second and third Tests will begin on June 10 and June 23, respectively.
New Zealand will aim to repeat the success they enjoyed last year against England, having won the two-Test rubber 1-0. The inaugural World Test Champions are sixth in the 2021-23 World Test Championship points table. They have won two games, lost three and drawn one.