Out-of-favor Australian batter Peter Handscomb tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday (July 11), forcing him to miss a county game against Leicestershire. The 30-year-old has been leading Middlesex this season in the County Championship.
Peter Handscomb is currently isolating himself and in his absence, Ireland cricketer Tim Murtagh has taken over the responsibilities of leading the side in this Group 2 fixture.
"Irishman Tim Murtagh stepped up to fill in for Handscomb as skipper as Middlesex ended day one of the clash with Leicestershire at 3-280," A report in 'The West Australian' said.
Middlesex won the toss and opted to bat first in this game and were quite impressive on the opening day of the four-day match. Sam Robson led the charge with a brilliant unbeaten century at the close of play on Day 1 while New Zealand's Daryl Mitchell scored 38 runs. Edward Barnes, Abidine Sakande and Ben Mike have picked up one wicket each thus far.
Peter Handscomb's struggles with form
Peter Handscomb hasn't had a great run with the bat in recent times. The Melbourne-born cricketer last donned Australian colors two years ago in his country's semi-final loss to England at the 2019 ICC World Cup. A string of poor performances at the highest level has since resulted in him being consistently overlooked by the national team selectors.
Peter Handscomb has had his fair share of struggles in the County Championship as well. He has struggled to inspire his troops from the front and has failed to get past the 50-run mark in his last 13 innings for the team. Handscomb has bagged a duck on three occasions, with a high score of just 36 in those 13 innings.
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Middlesex are currently languishing at the bottom of the points table in Group 2 with only one win from nine matches. They have a mere 63 points to their name, 44 points lesser than Leicestershire, who are one spot above them in the table. At the moment, Somerset occupies the top position in Group 2 with 134 points (4 wins in 9 games) while Gloucestershire is second with 129 points (5 wins in 9 games).