Cricket: New Zealand’s Ben Lister becomes first COVID-19 substitute

Auckland medium pacer Ben Lister on Tuesday became the first COVID-19 substitute in cricket, replacing teammate Mark Chapman in the ongoing Plunket Shield first-class cricket championship.

The 26-year-old Chapman, who has represented New Zealand in six ODIs and 24 T20Is, reportedly felt sick on Monday following which the batsman underwent a COVID-19 test.

Lister, who has featured in 18 first class games, was named as the replacement until Chapman’s test results are known.

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“Ollie Pringle makes his First-Class debut becoming No. Keycap digit fiveKeycap digit twoKeycap digit four. Ben Lister starts as Covid-19 replacement with Mark Chapman awaiting test results after feeling ill yesterday,” Auckland Cricket tweeted.

New Zealand coach Gary Stead, who was watching the match at Eden Park, said he was pleased that Chapman was not penalised for doing the right thing.

“I wasn’t aware until I got here this morning, that Mark Chapman had been feeling ill and had to get a Covid test. But from my perspective, it’s great that he’s not penalised for doing the right thing in what is obviously different times we face in the world,” Stead was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.

“Just shows that we and cricket aren’t immune to that either, so following the right protocols is definitely the right thing to do,” he added.

COVID-19 replacements in Test cricket had been approved by the ICC in June.