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By NAN Sports Editor

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Jan.11, 2022: COVID-19 has put a further damper on the beleaguered West Indies cricket team as its series against Ireland is now in doubt.

This comes after today’s second One-Day International at Sabina Park in Jamaica after two additional players, including Ireland’s captain Andy Balbirnie, tested positive for COVID-19. This brings to five, the total number of Irish cricketers now COVID-19 positive.

Balbirnie and wicketkeeper Lorcan Tucker, both of whom featured in Saturday’s opening 24-run defeat, returned positive tests, along with interim head coach David Ripley.

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In a joint statement, Cricket West Indies and Cricket Ireland said the five positive cases remained isolated and “under the care and supervision of the medical teams”, and discussions would now take place over the match schedule in order to “explore all possibilities for the series to be completed.”

The pair of Simi Singh and Ben White were ruled out of the first ODI also with positive tests last weekend and with Andy McBrine still recovering from a mild concussion suffered in the first game and seamer Mark Adair struggling with a foot injury, it means Ireland have a severely depleted squad.

“Unfortunately, with five members of the Ireland squad now returning a positive COVID-19 infection, two members of their squad being injured and two recently arriving in Jamaica following being positive for COVID-19 in Florida when they were playing the USA national side, Ireland have almost nine players of their squad unavailable for selection,” the statement added. ““We will continue our discussions with Cricket Ireland.”

Veteran Paul Stirling and Shane Getkate, both of whom returned positive tests before leaving Florida last month, have both now recovered and are expected to return to the squad.

With England arriving shortly for a five-match T20 series in Barbados, the Ireland tour could now be in jeopardy, with the third ODI originally scheduled for Friday and the one-off T20 International set for next Sunday.

The England series is set to bowl off on January 22 at Kensington Oval.

Ireland Series at Sabina Park, Jamaica

January 14: 3rd CG Insurance ODI (9:30am local time/10:30am Eastern Caribbean)

January 16: one-off T20I (4pm local time/5pm Eastern Caribbean)

England Series at Kensington Oval, Barbados

January 22: 1st T20I (4pm local time/3pm Jamaica)

January 23: 2nd T20I (4pm local time/3pm Jamaica)

January 26: 3rd T20I (4pm local time/3pm Jamaica)

January 29: 4th T20I (4pm local time/3pm Jamaica)

January 30: 5th T20I (4pm local time/3pm Jamaica)

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