Top-order batter Keegan Petersen has been ruled out of South Africa’s tour of two Tests to New Zealand due to testing positive for COVID-19. In his absence, Zubayr Hamza has been added to the 17-member touring party departing for New Zealand on Wednesday.
“Proteas batsman, Keegan Petersen, will unfortunately miss the tour to New Zealand after testing positive for COVID-19. The number three batsman is well and asymptomatic. Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) medical team will keep in close contact with him to ensure his physical and mental well-being,” said a statement from Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Petersen was the shining light for South Africa in winning the Test series against India 2-1 in January after being 0-1 behind. He was the leading run-scorer in the three-match series, scoring 276 runs in six innings at an average of 46.
In the series decider at Cape Town, Petersen notched up impressive scores of 82 and 72 to be the Player of the Match as well as taking the Player of the Series award. In five Tests since his debut in June 2021, Petersen has averaged 35.55. His absence for New Zealand tour is a huge blow for the Dean Elgar-led Proteas.
Hamza, 26, last played a Test match against England at Port Elizabeth in 2020, has featured in five matches and averages 18.10. He has one half-century against his name in Test cricket, a career-best score of 62 against India at Ranchi in 2019.
South Africa will play both their Tests against New Zealand at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch with the first match scheduled from February 17 followed by the second match commencing from February 27.
South Africa 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 and Kyle Verreynne (wicket-keeper).