Matthew Wade has sent a major scare through the Australian camp on the eve of a must-win clash against England at the T20 World Cup.
The Aussie wicket-keeper tested positive for Covid-19 on Thursday, joining teammate Adam Zampa in being struck down by the virus.
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Wade is reportedly suffering only minor symptoms and is still expected to feature in Friday night's game at the MCG, unless his condition deteriorates.
Under ICC rules, players can still play with Covid-19 - as we say with Tahlia McGrath during the final against India at the Commonwealth Games.
But the news is particularly bad for Australia considering Wade is the only wicket-keeper in the Aussie squad.
Back-up keeper Josh Inglis was ruled out of the tournament following a freak hand injury while playing golf, with Australia opting to bring in all-rounder Cameron Green instead of another gloveman.
Glenn Maxwell was spotted practicing with the gloves at training on Thursday, a sign that he will be required to take up the wicket-keeping duties if Wade can't play.
Well, that might explain why Glenn Maxwell walked out with the gloves on and did some catching before jumping in the nets today..
Wade still expected to play but as T20 cricket has shown us, be ready for anything #T20WorldCup https://t.co/Kgc10MSD1f pic.twitter.com/PHLO2q8dI3
— Jono Baruch (@JonoBaruch) October 27, 2022
David Warner and Aaron Finch have also been touted as options behind the stumps.
Australia are unable to rush in a replacement like Alex Carey, Ben McDermott or Josh Philippe unless another player is ruled out of the remainder of the tournament.
Australia need to beat England to remain in the hunt to qualify for the semi-finals in their T20 World Cup defence on home soil.
Zampa recorded a negative Covid-19 test on Thursday and will almost certainly return to the team in place of Ashton Agar.
"(Zampa) was really flat the day before the game and we were going to give him as much time as possible to get up for the game but we just thought it'd be too much, you want to be 100 per cent going into a World Cup game," Aussie captain Finch said.
Aaron Finch confident of finding form at World Cup
Meanwhile, Finch has written off his painful World Cup knock against Sri Lanka knock as an "anomaly" and believes he is the right choice to continue opening for Australia.
Regularly under-fire during the past 12 months, the 35-year-old will lead the reigning champions into a must-win contest against England on Friday night.
Legendary former Australia captain Allan Border has called for Steve Smith to replace Finch in the XI, but the captain is determined to push on.
It comes after the powerful right-hander could barely contain his frustration as he crawled to 31 not out off 42 balls in the seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in Perth on Tuesday night.
"I think it was an anomaly in my career, it was just one of those days," Finch told reporters at the MCG on Thursday.
"I still feel like I'm playing pretty well. I still feel confident in my game, 100 per cent.
"I don't feel anymore pressure than I ever have, the only pressure is the expectation you put on yourself.
"Everyone's got their opinion, that's fine. I've got no issue with what people's personal opinions are, I don't read or listen to any of it."
Australia's Test and ODI captain Pat Cummins has also come under criticism for his start to the tournament, with former selector Mark Waugh saying the star quick should be dropped in favour of Green.
But Finch has emphatically backed in the world's No.1-ranked Test bowler.
"His (Cummins) numbers over the last 18 months have been outstanding in T20 cricket," Finch said.
"It blows my mind sometimes where people go with selection chat.
"He's been unbelievable over all three formats for a long time and the calmness and experience that he brings to a bowling group is invaluable."
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