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COVID-19 strikes NZ cricket touring party

Three of New Zealand’s touring party have tested positive for COVID-19.

The news did not stop the four-day warm-up against Sussex taking place, but the weather did prevent there being any play on the opening day.

Batter Henry Nicholls, seamer Blair Tickner and bowling coach Shane Jurgensen were flagged after a round of rapid antigen tests on the first morning in Hove and will undergo five days of isolation.

Nicholls had recently suffered a calf injury and was not expected to feature in the match.

The remainder of the squad received the all clear and were due to take on a Sussex side at Hove on day one of a scheduled four, but a saturated outfield scuppered their hopes.

“We’re not sure how it happened. The three guys who have caught it haven’t been socialising together or anything so we’re not sure what the source is,” said Black Caps head coach Gary Stead.

“They’re all feeling okay but they’ve been struck down by that virus. All we can try and do is minimise the risk out there. We’re not in a situation where we are in a lockdown bubble or anything, but we’re not going to big gatherings and if we’re inside we’re making sure we’re wearing masks.

“Everyone is triple vaccinated and we’ll be testing everyone in the party for the next three days. Anyone who has symptoms goes through the normal protocols of reporting to our doctor.”

New Zealand are currently missing captain Kane Williamson, who is at home awaiting the birth of his second child, and Indian Premier League contingent Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Daryl Mitchell.

Sussex included Ollie Robinson in their squad after the seamer was left out of England’s Test party due to lack of match practice.

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