Home » Aussie star in doubt for crunch clash due to Covid scare

Aussie star in doubt for crunch clash due to Covid scare

ICC World Cup rules dictate that Covid-positive players are allowed to play, and Australia may not make a final call on Zampa until just before the toss.However, News Corp understands Zampa is doubtful to take his place in the Australian XI, opening the door for West Australian spinner Ashton Agar to step up on home soil in Perth.It’s understood Zampa’s symptoms are not necessarily severe but there is concern about him taking the field in such a big game.Agar played in Australia’s warm-up game against India but has missed a lot of cricket due to a side strain.The left-armer played one match in last year’s World Cup campaign, but Zampa has become an almost invaluable figure in Australia’s white ball teams.Losing Zampa would be a massive blow for Australia.Two nights ago Ireland cricketer George Dockrell played in the World Cup despite having Covid.SL factboxBIZARRE SCHEDULING FOR AUSSIES’ MUST-WIN FIXTURE While Australia and captain Aaron Finch are fighting for survival, most of the country will be fast asleep.In a bizarre TV scheduling decision, Australia’s do-or-die clash against Sri Lanka on Tuesday night from Perth won’t start until 10pm on the east coast, meaning fans will have to stay up past 1.30am on a weeknight to see the finish.The reason is admirable in that World Cup organisers have decided to prioritise local fans in Perth, because the three hour time difference means they couldn’t have it both ways with a crowd and large Australian TV audience.To feed into prime time on the east coast, the match would have had to start at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon in Perth which kills any chance of filling Optus Stadium with the kind of crowd the occasion deserves.SCBBL PROMOHowever, it is unusual for the Sydney and Melbourne television markets to be the casualty when it comes to scheduling decisions, and there’s little doubt Australia’s desperate mission to save its World Cup campaign would have rated gangbusters on Channel 9 and Fox Cricket if it was in a normal prime time slot.The Australia-New Zealand game rated well on Saturday and was the fourth highest show on free to air television with Channel 9 attracting 441,000 metropolitan viewers. It was the highest rating Fox show with 245,000.Watch every T20 World Cup match Live and Ad-Free on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >It’s unheard of for a match featuring Australia on Australian soil to fall outside day-time or prime time hours, but organisers gave Sydney the blockbuster timeslot of the Saturday night tournament opener and Melbourne next Friday’s huge Australia v England clash at the MCG.Adelaide has also been given a Friday night Australian fixture against Afghanistan at the end of the group stages, leaving Brisbane and Perth with the weekday games in what is a tight schedule.It would have been a massive blow for cricket in Western Australia after hosting nothing during Covid, to also be dudded with a Tuesday afternoon match in the World Cup and organisers have chosen to look after Perth fans.ZIMBABWE COACH SLAMS PLAY IN ‘RIDICULOUS’ WORLD CUP CONDITIONS–AFPZimbabwe coach Dave Houghton has slammed the umpires’ decision to carry on with their Super 12 match against South Africa at the Twenty20 World Cup even in “ridiculous” amounts of rain.In a weather-hit stop-start match in Hobart, South Africa were on the brink of victory in their revised chase of 64 in seven overs when a final spell of showers forced a washout.Quinton de Kock with an unbeaten 47 off 18 balls had steered the total to 51 for no loss in three overs but South Africa and Zimbabwe shared a point each in Group 2 on Monday.“I don’t think we should have even bowled a ball, to be fair,” said Houghton. “But the umpires are the guys making those decisions out in the middle and they seemed to think it was fit to play. I disagree with them, but there’s not much I can do off the field.”Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bat but their innings only began after a rain delay of more than two hours and 30 minutes and the match was reduced to nine overs a side.Zimbabwe managed 79-5, before de Kock replied with a flurry of fours and a six before rain arrived again, forcing the umpires to cut overs further.SCBBL PROMO“The rain had got so heavy at one stage, it was ridiculous,” said Houghton. “For most of the evening it was misty with mizzle, but it got to the stage where we could hear it thumping on the roof in the dugout.“To me that’s no longer mizzle and drizzle -- that’s time to get off the field. “And the field was wet when we started, it was wet when South Africa fielded, so they were difficult conditions for both sides.“But it just got more and more wet as we bowled. I don’t think the conditions were right to carry on playing.” Zimbabwe fast bowler Richard Ngarava slipped and had to be taken off injured. Houghton said: “He’s lying in the changing room with a bunch of ice strapped to his ankle. Obviously we’re not too happy about the fact he’s not in a great space for bowling at the moment.” South Africa coach Mark Boucher said Zimbabwe would have wanted to carry on if they had got into a similar position as the Proteas.“We bowled with a ball that was quite wet as well,” he said. “We were in a very good position. You walk away from this game thinking we were hard done by.” The washout has left South Africa in a tricky spot in a group which includes heavyweights India and Pakistan. Only two teams from the group make the semi-finals.CRICKET’S RATINGS BOOM AS AUSSIE WC DEFENCE GOES ON THE LINEFox Cricket out-rated Channel 9’s free-to-air coverage for Sunday night’s India v Pakistan record-breaking sporting classic at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.On a blockbuster opening weekend of television ratings for the Twenty20 World Cup, viewing milestones were falling everywhere, with Australia’s capitulation against New Zealand even trumping the Virat Kohli show on Australian television sets.Australia’s tournament-opening loss to New Zealand is the highest rating T20 World Cup game of all time on Foxtel, rating 397,000 – pipping the India v Pakistan spectacle, which rated 391,000.The numbers on Fox were so strong they actually beat out the free-to-air coverage on Nine’s GEM which did 359,000.Worldwide it’s anticipated in excess of 250 million would have watched the India-Pakistan all-time classic.On global digital platforms, the match rated 16 million, jumping up from 10 million in the last, breathtaking over.“What a fantastic way to kick off the Super 12s at the World Cup with record audiences,” said Fox Cricket boss, Matt Weiss.“Our campaign of ‘Won’t Miss A Thing’ and the every game, no ads in play has stamped Fox Cricket as the destination cricket lovers are heading for their cricket fix.“What a huge summer we have ahead.”Updates to story

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