Ireland’s second World Cup Super League game against West Indies today has been postponed following further positive Covid cases and injuries in the visiting squad — but both cricket boards hope to save the series.
Captain Andrew Balbirnie and Lorcan Tucker are the latest two players to show up positive on an antigen test and are waiting for PCR results, with Simi Singh and Ben White already ruled out of the serie.
Paul Stirling and Shane Getkate, who spent 10 days in isolation in Florida following the USA leg of this tour, were tested on arrival in Jamaica on Sunday and were still waiting on the results yesterday.
Andy McBrine had to leave the field after being hit on the helmet in Sunday’s first one-day international and, as the concussion protocols take place over 72 hours, he would also have been ruled out of today’s match, while Mark Adair has now also joined the injury list.
The CIYMS all-rounder came off the field on Sunday with a foot problem, despite having the best figures of the day (3-38) and then hitting three sixes in an undefeated 21. It hadn’t eased yesterday so he was also a doubt for a game, leaving Ireland with only 11 fit players and having to go into their backroom staff to provide a 12th man.
Interim Head coach David Ripley has also tested positive in the latest round, so must remain out of contact with the squad.
A joint statement yesterday, released by Cricket West Indies and Cricket Ireland, confirming the postponement said: “CWI and CI are in discussions to review the match schedule and are working to explore all possibilities for the series to be completed.
“The five members of the Ireland team who have returned positive Covid-19 results remain in isolation under the care and supervision of the medical teams.”
The possibility of today’s match being put back only 24 hours has not been ruled out, especially if Stirling and Getkate get the go-ahead to play and the extra day should be enough for McBrine to be available.
Assuming Balbirnie and Tucker’s PCR results are positive, Stirling would then take over the captaincy and Neil Rock, who became the first Ireland player to bat as a concussion substitute — for McBrine on Sunday — would take the wicket-keeping gloves.
The ongoing discussions also involve flights out of Jamaica for the Ireland squad. They are due to leave on Monday but that cannot be pushed back too much because the West Indies squad go straight into a five-match T20 series against England which starts on Saturday-week.
Ireland are due to end the tour with a T20 international on Sunday but priority will be given to the remaining two WCSL games, the last of which could be played instead of the T20I, if the new schedule dictates. It is hoped to confirm that today.
West Indies have not declared any positive results but the ODI leg of their recent tour of Pakistan was also postponed because they had so many cases that, ironically, also left them with only 11 players available, so most of the squad have antibodies.
Cricket Ireland chief executive Warren Deutrom added: “The circumstances are far from ideal, but our players, coaches and support staff have acted in an exemplary manner through a tough few days.
“We are very thankful for the support and co-operation of Cricket West Indies during our stay so far. Not only are they hosting this series but have an Under-19 World Cup starting this week and further internationals ahead this month. However, they have continued to look after our squad and we appreciate their work.”