Yorkshire will be without four first-team players for their final three Vitality T20 Blast group-stage games after one of them received a positive Covid-19 test.
Matthew Fisher, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Josh Poysden and David Willey were withdrawn from the squad to play Lancashire on Monday “in accordance with Covid guidance” after a family member of one of the four had symptoms of the virus. The four players came into close contact with one another on Saturday, away from the rest of the squad.
They had been sat outside Headingley waiting for a green light before the toss, but a delay in the test results meant they were unable to play in that fixture, and on Wednesday the club confirmed that the unnamed player with a symptomatic family member had tested positive.
All four players have been advised to self-isolate for 14 days, as per Covid-19 guidelines, and will miss the final three group-stage games. They would be available for the quarter-finals on October 1 if Yorkshire can reach the knockouts without them.
Kunwar Bansil, Yorkshire’s lead physiotherapist said: “Although it is disappointing that we will be without four key players, we have a duty of care to the wider squad and others.
“The health and well-being of the players and support staff is the club’s primary responsibility, as well as protecting the opposition, the integrity of the competition and playing our part in keeping the wider community safe.”
This is the second time that a county cricketer has tested positive for Covid-19 this season, after an unnamed Northants player contracted the virus. His positive test caused their Bob Willis Trophy fixture against Gloucestershire to be abandoned after lunch on the first day, and three of his team-mates went into self-isolation as a result.
“We were hoping one of the four lads would have their test back, which would have enabled the rest of them to play,” Andrew Gale, Yorkshire’s head coach, had said after Monday’s game. “They were sat outside the ground until 5.30pm waiting on a text, but unfortunately it didn’t come.
“With the guidelines in place, the physios and club doctor said they couldn’t take part in the game unless that one person tested negative. Unfortunately, it didn’t come through. I fully expect it to be negative, but you just don’t know – you have to be careful.”
The timing of the news will be frustrating for Yorkshire, who would likely have to win all three of their remaining Blast games to qualify.
Poysden, Fisher and Willey are their three leading wicket-takers in the competition this season, while Willey and Kohler-Cadmore are captain and vice-captain respectively. They are expecting to have Adil Rashid and Joe Root available for the final two games of the group stage, but they will be forced to field a number of young players in Wednesday night’s fixture against Durham.
It will be particularly disappointing for Willey, who turned down an offer from Delhi Capitals to replace Jason Roy in their IPL squad earlier this month in order to captain the side throughout the second half of the group stage. He missed the start of the Blast while on England duty, and decided to prioritise the tournament after being awarded the T20 captaincy during the off-season rather than travelling to the UAE.