In a massive blow for South Africa, pacer bowler Lungi Ngidi has tested positive for Covid-19 and as a result, he has been withdrawn from the upcoming three-match One-day International (ODI) series against the Netherlands, scheduled to begin at the Centurion on November 26.
Meanwhile, Carl Junior Dala, the 31-year-old fast bowler, has been included in the squad as a replacement for Ngidi. Dala has only played two ODIs in his career.
A Cricket South Africa (CSA) statement however, said that Ngidi was in “good spirits” and Junior Dala has been brought in as a replacement to bolster the squad.
“He is well and in good spirits and abiding by Cricket South Africa’s Covid-19 protocols, in line with government regulations. The Proteas medical team will keep in contact with him to ensure his physical and mental well-being,” the statement read.
CSA did not provide any further details whether any other players or support staff had come in contact with Ngidi, who has scalped 54 wickets in 29 ODI games.
“#Proteas Squad Update. Junior Dala has been called up to the #Proteas squad after Lizaad Williams (intercostal muscle strain) and Lungi Ngidi (Covid Positive) were withdrawn from the squad ahead of the #BetwayODISeries against @KNCBcricket,” wrote CSA on its twitter handle with an image of Dala.
Meanwhile, right-Arm medium pacer Lizaad Williams will also miss the ODI series as he has been ruled out with an intercostal muscle strain. Williams will continue to be assessed in the coming days however, he is not likley to feature in the three-match series.
Notably, all the three ODIs of the series will be played at Centurion. The second and third matches are scheduled on November 28 and December 1 and it will be for the first time when the Netherlands will be playing a full international series against the Proteas in South Africa.
The series forms part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, the qualification tournament for the 2023 ICC World Cup where South Africa are currently ninth on the list.
With South Africa’s white-ball captain Temba Bavuma being rested following a high workload and back-to-back bubbles, Keshav Maharaj will be leading the home side.
After the Netherland series, South Africa will host India for three Tests, as many ODIs and four T20Is.
The India tour will begin with the Test series with the first match scheduled to begin on December 17 at The Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.