Keegan Petersen tests positive for COVID-19, ruled out of New Zealand tour

Keegan Petersen tests positive for COVID-19, ruled out of New Zealand tour

Zubayr Hamza has replaced Petersen in the Test squad.

Keegan Petersen
Keegan Petersen. (Photo by RODGER BOSCH/AFP via Getty Images)

South Africa are scheduled to tour New Zealand for a two-match Test series later this month. But they have been dealt with a huge blow even before landing in the Kiwi country. Their promising batter Keegan Petersen has been ruled out of both Test matches after his COVID test returned a positive result. He has now been replaced with Zubayr Hamza in the squad for the tour.

Petersen had played a crucial role in South Africa’s recent home series win over India. The Proteas led by Dean Elgar came back from behind to win the three-match series 2-1 and Keegan Petersen was one solid batter who kept the opposition at bay constantly. He also won the Player of the Series award for his exceptional batting.

He was a top run-getter of the series scoring 276 runs in six innings at an average of 46. Cricket South Africa (CSA) revealed the news of the 28-year-old testing positive for COVID-19 and also stated that he is asymptomatic. “Cricket South Africa’s medical team will keep in close contact with him to ensure his physical and mental well-being,” the CSA statement read according to Sport24.

Hamza last played a Test in 2020

Keegan Petersen’s replacement Zubayr Hamza has played a total of five Tests matches so far mustering 181 runs at an average of 18.1. He last played against England in 2020 and also has a half-century to his name against India which he scored in Ranchi in 2019. It is certainly a tough ask for Hamza to fill in Petersen’s shoes after the latter’s exceptional show against India.

The two-match Test series between South Africa and New Zealand will commence on February 17 with both the matches set to be played in Christchurch due to emergence of COVID-19 variant Omicron. The second and final Test will start from February 27.

South Africa’s updated Test squad: Dean Elgar (captain), Temba Bavuma (vice-captain), Sarel Erwee, Zubayr Hamza, Simon Harmer, Marco Jansen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Duanne Olivier, Kagiso Rabada, Ryan Rickelton, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Rassie van der Dussen, Kyle Verreynne (wicket-keeper)