Australian spinner Ashton Agar has been ruled out of the three-match ODI series to be played against the home team Pakistan in Lahore. Cricket Australia (CA) on March 29 (Tuesday) confirmed that the left-arm spinner has tested positive for Covid-19. To note, Agar has become the second player in the visitor’s camp to test Covid-19 positive. Earlier, batter Josh Inglis also tested positive for the virus, apart from team physiotherapist Brendan Wilson. All other players and staff have returned negative tests.
The visitors will also be without their key batters, including Mitchell Marsh who suffered a hip flexor injury at training on March 28 (Monday). Similarly, senior batter Steve Smith has also been ruled out of the white-ball series due to an elbow issue. After winning the red-ball series by a margin of 1-0, the visitors will take on Pakistan in the ODI series, starting from March 29 (Tuesday). The series will be held entirely in Lahore, with the second match to be played on March 31 (Thursday) and the third one on April 2 (Saturday).
With several key players missing, Queensland batter Matt Renshaw has been added to the squad. However, the left-handed batter will only be available after completing his three-day isolation period. The 26-year-old has not played an ODI for Australia so far. Talking about Renshaw’s numbers in Test cricket, the left-handed-batter has played 11 matches in which he has scored a total of 636 runs at a decent average of 33.47. He has also stroked three fifties and one hundred in the longest format of the game.
With the first match starting today, the visitors will think of playing two leg-spinners, which could open the door for Mitchell Swepson to make his ODI debut, alongside another spinner Adam Zampa. Meanwhile, Pakistan have named a strong squad for the upcoming series and will look to even start with a series win. After the ODI series, the two teams will compete in a one-off T20I to be played on April 5 (Tuesday) in Lahore itself.