The Ireland squad began training in Fort Lauderdale yesterday ahead of the five-match white-ball series against United States, but only 13 members of the extended 18-man playing party were involved.
Barry McCarthy, George Dockrell, Harry Tector and Gareth Delany have all tested positive for Covid and Craig Young was identified as a close contact, forcing Ireland to call up Josh Little earlier than expected.
Little was playing in the Lanka Premier League and was not due to arrive in Florida until Christmas Eve, in time for the first one-day international on Boxing Day, but following what Cricket Ireland have described as “Covid complications” he has flown out of Colombo and will be available for the two Twenty20 internationals which begin the tour on Wednesday and Thursday.
The five named players are in various states of isolation but Young, ironically the one who has not tested positive, is the furthest away from the action.
As he was ‘pinged’ on the eve of the squad’s departure yesterday, under Northern Ireland guidelines the North Down opening bowler is not permitted to travel for 10 days and must receive a negative PCR test before he can join the squad.
The 10-day rule will take Young up to Christmas Day, ruling him out of the first ODI versus the USA.
McCarthy and Dockrell both tested positive during pre-series testing but Cricket Ireland say they “will shortly complete their isolation period and will be out once they return a negative PCR result” which they hope will be this weekend.
Tector and Delany have been in Florida for the last 10 days, playing in the T20 US Open which ended on Sunday, but they too both reported positive Covid tests prior to joining up with the squad and have begun a 10-day in-room isolation.
Tector is one of three players not in the 15-man T20 squad — Andy McBrine and William Porterfield are the others — so he should not miss any action but Delany, who is not in the ODI squad, along with Shane Getkate and William McClintock, will miss both games next week and, as there is now only one T20I on the second leg of the tour against West Indies, he will have the opportunity to play only one more match on the month-long tour.
The squad also left without assistant coach Gary Wilson who, it appears, has received a false positive Covid result and was being re-tested last night. If all clear, he will fly out tomorrow with McCarthy and Dockrell.