Mitchell Santner to miss the first T20I due to covid

In a setback for New Zealand, versatile all-rounder Mitchell Santner tested positive for COVID, sidelining him from the opening T20I against Pakistan at Auckland’s Eden Park. The contest kickstarts a riveting five-match series between the fourth-ranked Kiwis and the third-placed Pakistan. Santner who had previously grappled with the virus in 2022 before the Ireland tour has now entered isolation at the team hotel.

He will aim to rejoin the squad for the second T20I in Hamilton on January 14, traveling separately. This development adds a twist to the clash, as New Zealand aim to overcome Pakistan’s challenge without their key all-rounder on the Eden Park battleground.

“Mitch Santner won’t travel to Eden Park this evening for the opening KFC T20I against Pakistan after testing positive for COVID earlier today. He will continue to be monitored over the coming days and will travel solo home to Hamilton,” a statement from New Zealand Cricket read.

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Santner’s absence leaves a void New Zealand persists to fill

The 31-year-old’s absence due to a positive COVID test dealt a significant blow to New Zealand in the T20I series against Pakistan. The seasoned all-rounder’s isolation protocol, following the positive result, adheres to the standard practice established since the virus gained prominence in 2020. Despite the sport gradually returning to normalcy, the need for caution remains paramount until the virus is eradicated.

The bowling all-rounder’s pivotal role in the T20I setup amplifies the setback for the Kiwis. With 105 wickets in 91 innings, he showcased prowess in both batting and bowling. As a left-handed batter, he contributed 610 runs, underlining his value. His absence not only leaves a void in the team but also provides an opportunity for another player to step up and fill the crucial role in the closely watched series. In the ever-evolving landscape of cricket, adaptability becomes key, and New Zealand faces the challenge of reshaping their strategy in his absence.