With moderate sickness, Mohammad Rizwan and Shoaib Malik were absent from Pakistan’s training session on Wednesday, a day before their semi-final against Australia in Dubai.
Covid-19 was tested on both players, and they both came back negative. They’ve passed frequent Covid-19 testing throughout the competition, including one only a few days ago, much like the rest of their team. The ICC encourages teams to test as much as possible, and this is part of their policy.
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The couple awoke on Wednesday morning with “mild illness and low temperature,” according to an official, and were first advised to postpone training. The recommendation was then amended to enable them to skip training entirely.
Pakistan is not unduly concerned about their participation in Thursday’s game at the present, and will reevaluate their situation in the morning.
Rizwan and Malik have been vital players in Pakistan’s undefeated journey to the semi-finals, and losing any of them would be the first serious setback they have faced in this tournament.
Rizwan is the third-highest run-getter among hitters left in the competition, trailing only his opening partner and skipper Babar Azam. He also plays a key role in Pakistan’s on-field leadership.
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Malik, meanwhile, has beefed up Pakistan’s middle order, with important contributions in two chases against New Zealand
. Against Scotland
he hit the tournament’s joint-fastest fifty and the fastest by a Pakistani in a T20I, and currently holds a strike rate of 187 in this World Cup.
Pakistan have options as replacements should the need arise. Sarfaraz Ahmed, the former captain, would be the straight swap for Rizwan behind the stumps – and for the leadership value he would bring to a side that still respects him from the days he was captain. Haider Ali would likely step in for Malik, which could push Fakhar Zaman up to open alongside Babar.