Cricket match referee Phil Whitticase, who supervised the just-concluded England-Sri Lanka T20I series, has tested positive for Covid-19. The ICC match referee had officiated the three T20Is played between hosts England and Sri Lanka. The 56-year-old is currently asymptomatic, reported Wisden. He will be in isolation for 10 days. However, seven match officials and members of the anti-corruption unit are believed to be in contact with Phil and have been instructed to remain in isolation for the next 10 days.
JUST IN: ICC Match Referee Phil Whitticase, who officiated during the #ENGvSL T20I series, has tested positive for COVID-19. He is currently asymptomatic. pic.twitter.com/blIMcAWqWT— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) June 27, 2021
England and Sri Lanka will also play a three-match ODI series. Five of these seven officials were part of the preparation for the first limited overs game on June 29. Chris Broad will be the match referee for the first white-ball match in Durham, while Micheal Gough and Richard Kettleborough will be the umpires. The England Cricket Board (ECB) will also find the replacements for the match officials for the ODI series.
The ECB has clarified that no player from either team has been affected by Phil’s situation, and alternative arrangements are being made to safely conduct the upcoming ODI series.
England whitewashed Sri Lanka in the T20I series and won the last game by 89 runs. The ODI series with the Lankans will be followed by three T20Is and as many ODIs against Pakistan. The English team will also host India for five Test matches, starting August 4.
The Indian squad is already in England for the red-ball series. The Virat Kohli-led team recently played the World Test Championship Final against New Zealand. The Kiwis won their first ICC title after decades defeating India by right wickets. New Zealand’s last ICC title win was the 2000 KnockOut Trophy when Stephen Fleming had led the Black Caps.