Paris St Germain forward Lionel Messi and three other players have tested positive for COVID-19, the French Ligue 1 club said on Sunday.
Argentina international Messi joined PSG from boyhood club Barcelona in August and the 34-year-old has scored six goals in 16 games in all competitions for the Parisian side, Reuters reported.
Defender Juan Bernat, back-up goalkeeper Sergio Rico and midfielder Nathan Bitumazala were the other players who returned positive tests. PSG said the four players were in isolation and subject to the appropriate health protocols.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team are top of the Ligue 1 standings on 46 points after 19 matches, 13 points above second-placed Nice. They are due to travel to third-tier club Vannes on Monday for a French Cup round-of-32 match.
Pochettino said he was unsure if Messi, who is currently in Argentina, would feature in their next league game, at Olympique Lyonnais on January. 9.
“Messi has been in regular contact with our medical team and when he has a negative test, he will travel to France but we don’t know any more than that. I don’t know if he will be involved against Lyon.
“Until he gets a negative test in Argentina, he will not be able to travel to France. So it is all down to the test in terms of when he can travel… we will assess when he is ready to play.”
France reported 219,126 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period on Saturday, the fourth day in a row that the country has recorded more than 200,000 cases, Reuters reported.
Ireland beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in first T20I match of series
Ireland beat Afghanistan by seven wickets in the first of five matches in the T20 International in Belfast on Tuesday.
George Dockrell hit the winning boundary off the penultimate ball to lift Ireland on to 171 for three after they were set a target of 169.
Afghanistan’s total of 168 for seven had been boosted by 30 runs off the final two overs, with Ibrahim Zadran clubbing 29 not out off 18 balls.
Afghanistan’s top scorer, opener Usman Ghani, struck two sixes and six fours in his 59 off 42 balls.
The two sides will meet again on Thursday at the same Civil Services Cricket Club venue in Stormont for the second time in their five-match series.
Former international cricket umpire Koertzen dies in car accident
Rudi Koertzen, former international cricket umpire from South Africa, died on Tuesday in a car accident in the country, ESPNcricInfo reported citing his family.
“He went on a golf tournament with some of his friends, and they were expected to come back on Monday, but it seems they decided to play another round of golf,” his son Rudi Koertzen jr said.
Koertzen, 73, was on the International Cricket Council’s elite panel of umpires for eight years and officiated in 331 matches, a record at the time of his retirement in 2010 that has since been surpassed by Pakistan’s Aleem Dar.
“It is a very big loss, foremost for his family and then for South Africa and cricket,” Dar was quoted as saying by ESPNcricInfo.
“I stood in so many games with him. He was not only very good as an umpire but also an excellent colleague, always very cooperative on field and also always willing to help off the field.
“Because of the way he was, he was also well-respected by players.”
Koertzen died while driving from Cape Town to Despatch in Eastern Cape, where he lived with his family, ESPNcricInfo said.
Koertzen still umpired occasionally in amateur cricket in his hometown of Despatch in South Africa’s Eastern Cape.
ACB names players for five-match T20I series against Ireland
The Afghanistan Cricket Board (ACB) on Monday announced the 16-member squad for the five T20I matches against Ireland scheduled to take place this month.
All matches will take place in Ireland and start on August 9. The tournament will run through until August 17.
According to the ACB, the team will leave for Ireland on Friday.
Mohammad Nabi will captain the team. The other players are as follows: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wicketkeeper), Hazratullah Zazai, Ibrahim Zadran, Najibullah Zadran, Hashmatullah Shahidi, Darwish Rasooli, Karim Jannat, Afsar Zazai, Azmatullah Umarzai, Sharafuddin Ashraf, Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad, Fazal Haq, Farid Malik, and Naveen ul Haq.
The reserves are Qais Ahmed, Usman Ghani, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Najat Masoud.
Noorul Haq Malikzi, the ACB’s head of the selection committee said: “We have selected a team for Ireland, which I am sure will have great achievements, because our priority is talent, young players, their performance and strength.”
The Afghanistan Cricket Board says that one of the goals of these competitions is to prepare for the Asia Cup and the World Cup, which will start in September and October respectively.
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