Sydney, Jan 4 (IANS) Australian batter Matthew Renshaw’s Test recall got off to a bad start after testing positive for Covid-19 on the morning of the series finale against South Africa but he will continue to take part in the game at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), here on Wednesday.
Playing his first Test since 2018, Renshaw, who returned a positive rapid antigen test after feeling unwell before play for the SCG Test, was named in the playing XI anyway, listed to bat at number six. The left-handed batter stood separately from team-mates during the anthems and was then seen sitting away from the dugout on the boundary edge.
“Australian batter Matthew Renshaw reported feeling unwell shortly before play in the third Test match against South Africa in Sydney and was separated from the squad. Renshaw has since returned a positive RAT test. He will continue to take part in the match,” a Cricket Australia (CA) spokesperson said.
Australia could have replaced Renshaw in their XI even if the game had commenced with him listed on the team sheet after the International Cricket Council (ICC) altered rules in 2020 to permit Covid substitutes in response to the pandemic.
Replacement players are required to be like-for-like players. For Renshaw, that would likely be back-up batter Marcus Harris, although Peter Handscomb has also been listed on their team sheet as a sub fielder though it is understood he will only be called into action if Australia were to suffer multiple injuries like they did in Melbourne.
Notably, players are now permitted to continue in a match even if they test positive for Covid-19. Tahlia McGrath took part in the Commonwealth Games final against India last year in such a scenario while Matthew Wade was set to play against England at the T20 World Cup before that game was washed out.
Incidentally, captain Pat Cummins, on the eve of the Test, had spoken about how it had been a much more normal summer after two years of various restrictions.
“I still don’t know how we haven’t had Covid in our team now I think about it,” Cummins said, before Renshaw had tested positive.
“It feels like it’s back to normal life. Even at Christmas, we were able to have more families there than we have in the past. Interstate travel, the Sydney guys are staying at home — life feels really normal.
“Everyone’s in great spirits because everyone feels like they’ve got their summers back to normality. It’s great. I think you’ve seen it with crowds as well, they’ve been fantastic this summer,” he added.