Covid-19 has hit the New Zealand camp ahead of their upcoming three-match Test series against England. Batsman Henry Nicholls, pacer Blair Tickner and bowling coach Shane Jurgensen have tested positive for the Covid-19 in Brighton. The New Zealand party landed in the UK earlier this week. All the three members of the touring party have started their five days of hotel room isolation after producing positive Rapid Antigen Tests on Friday morning, according to a media release from New Zealand Cricket (NZC).
The other members of New Zealand camp have returned negative tests and will continue to be monitored and tested as required. The media release further confirmed that despite the positive cases, the upcoming four-day warm-up game between New Zealand and Sussex would go ahead as scheduled. The practice game is scheduled to be played from May 20 to May 23. Following the game against Sussex, New Zealand are scheduled to play one more warm-up game against FCC XI.
The second warm-up game is scheduled to start on May 26. As far as the series is concerned, it will begin on June 2 at the Lord’s. The second Test will be played in Nottingham from June 10 while the final game of the series is scheduled to be held at Headingley from June 23. New Zealand would be hoping that the trio recovers soon ahead of the important series which is a part of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship.
Left-hander Nicholls is one of the batting mainstays for New Zealand in the longest format of the game. In 46 Tests so far, he has scored more than 2500 runs at an average of more than 40. He has also scored 8 hundreds and 12 fifties so far. Nicholls was doubtful for the warm-up games in any case after suffering a grade one calf strain during a running drill in a pre-touring camp in Mount Maunganui earlier this month.
The scans ruled out any tear but Nicholls is unlikely to play against Sussex and FCC XI. In fact, he is in a race against time to be fit for the first Test. On the other hand, Tickner is a newcomer in red-ball cricket for the Kiwis. Although he has played 2 ODIs and 8 T20 Internationals, he is yet to make his debut in the longest format of the game.
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) May 18, 2022