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News

Steven Taylor, Aaron Jones among four Covid-19 positive cases in USA camp

As a result, four emergency reinforcements have been called into the squad ahead of Ireland series

Jaskaran Malhotra smashed six sixes in an over during his unbeaten 173, Papua New Guinea vs United States of America, 2nd ODI, Al Amerat, September 9, 2021

Malhotra recently smashed six sixes in an over, but is now out of the T20Is against Ireland  •  USA Cricket

A string of Covid-19 positive tests in the USA squads for the two-match T20I and three-match ODI series against Ireland in Lauderhill has knocked out several core contributors - including Steven Taylor, their leading scorer in T20 cricket, and Aaron Jones, the vice-captain. It has therefore resulted in four emergency reinforcements being flown in on the eve of the series.
The four players affected, which also include Jaskaran Malhotra and Karima Gore, learnt of their test results prior to the start of the squad's official training camp, though most players were already present in Florida to participate in the annual US Open T20 tournament. Three of the four have been ruled out of the T20I series and though Taylor has not been officially ruled out, he has not trained with the USA squad either and is considered a long shot to play in any of the two T20Is set for December 22 and 23.
Separately, fast bowler Rusty Theron has also been ruled out after sustaining a groin injury during the US Open. It meant that USA only had 11 players at training on Monday, which included two players, Nosthush Kenjige and Sushant Modani, who were supposed to be a part of the ODI squad only.
A trio of USA U-19 players - left-arm spinner Ali Sheikh, legspinner Yasir Mohammad and right-hand batter Ritwik Behera - have been called into the squad after passing Covid testing in their respective home cities to clear their availability. While Sheikh and Mohammed have been named in the T20I squad only, Behera has been named in both the T20I and ODI squads. Ryan Scott, who scored two centuries for Michigan Cricket Stars in the inaugural season of Minor League Cricket T20 franchise competition, has also been called into the T20I squad.
Left-arm spinning allrounder Marty Kain, who was supposed to be in the T20I squad only, has subsequently been added to the ODI squad. Modani, who was in the ODI squad only, has also been added to the T20I squad.
Jones, Taylor and Malhotra have not yet been ruled out of the ODI series which begins on December 26. Officials are hopeful that they will be able to complete their 10-day isolation period and return two negative PCR tests to be able to take part.
The Ireland squad has also been affected by a string of Covid-related changes. Harry Tector, Gareth Delany, Barry McCarthy and George Dockrell all tested positive prior to the start of the series. However, McCarthy completed his 10-day isolation period and took part in Ireland's training on Monday.
USA T20I squad: Monank Patel (capt), Ali Khan, Ali Sheikh, Gajanand Singh, Jessy Singh, Marty Kain, Nisarg Patel, Ritwik Behera, Ryan Scott, Saurabh Netravalkar, Steven Taylor, Sushant Modani, Vatsal Vaghela, Xavier Marshall, Yasir Mohammad.
USA ODI squad: Monank Patel (capt), Aaron Jones (vice-capt), Ali Khan, Gajanand Singh, Jessy Singh, Jaskaran Malhotra, Marty Kain, Nisarg Patel, Nosthush Kenjige, Rahul Jariwala, Ritwik Behera, Saurabh Netravalkar, Steven Taylor, Sushant Modani, Vatsal Vaghela, Xavier Marshall.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna