ICC Match Referee Phil Whitticase, who was on duty during the England - Sri Lanka T20I series that concluded recently, has tested positive for COVID-19. The England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed the development on Sunday. The ECB said the first ODI between England and Sri Lanka, set to start on June 29, will go ahead as per schedule despite five officials due to officiate in that match being deemed close contacts.
“Following a PCR test administered on Friday 25 June at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton, The England and Wales Cricket Board can confirm that ICC Match Referee Phil Whitticase has tested positive for COVID-19. Whitticase, who was officiating during the three-match Vitality IT20 Series between England and Sri Lanka, is well and is asymptomatic," ECB said in a statement.
“He will now observe a period of 10-days of self-isolation from 25 June, in accordance with the UK Government’s protocol on quarantine.
“Seven other members from the match officials and anti-corruption unit teams were deemed close contacts, including five members due to officiate at the first Royal London ODI on Tuesday, 29 June at Emirates Riverside, Durham. Those impacted will have to self-isolate for 10-days until 7 July."
Importantly, the board clarified that no members of the two teams were impacted.
“Alternative arrangements will be put in place to ensure Tuesday’s ODI goes ahead as planned," the statement said.
The series has been a mismatch so far, with England smashing Sri Lanka 3-0 in the T20I series. England, winners of the World Cup 2019, start favourites in the ODIs as well.