South African batting sensation Aiden Markram has been ruled out of the first T20I against India at the Arun Jaitley Stadium on June 9 after being tested positive for COVID-19. Markram’s unavailability meant that emerging all-rounder Tristan Stubbs was handed over his maiden cap.
Markram, who has been one of the important members of the Proteas in the last four years, had a really good IPL 2022 representing the Sunrisers Hyderabad where he amassed 381 runs from 14 matches, including being unbeaten on four occasions. He went on to register three half-centuries with his highest score being an unbeaten 68 at a strike rate of 139.05. “Aiden was not available for selection as he tested positive for Covid, Stubbs comes in and it is a debut for him,” South Africa captain Temba Bavuma said at the toss. According to reports, Markram cleared the first round of testing when the South African squad had arrived for the five-match series on June 2. At the same time, it is to be noted that the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had officially confirmed earlier that there would be no bio-bubble with effect from the ongoing home T20Is.
Meanwhile, even the Indian team received a couple of setbacks ahead of the series-opener with standing captain KL Rahul and wrist-spinner Kuldeep Yadav being ruled out of the series. While Rahul suffered a groin injury, Yadav was struck on his right hand while batting in the nets. The selectors have decided to rest the key players including the likes of regular skipper KL Rahul, batting megastar Virat Kohli, pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah, etc. as a part of the workload management. Coming back to the contest, India posted a mammoth total of 211/4 after being asked to bat first by the visiting skipper Temba Bavuma courtesy of an explosive 48-ball 76 from Ishan Kishan and a cameo knock of an unbeaten 31 runs from 12 deliveries by Hardik Pandya towards the end.