THE Ireland management were anxiously awaiting the latest Covid-19 test results this morning before confirming that the rescheduled second one-day international against UAE could go ahead tomorrow (0530 GMT).

The game, which had been due to take place yesterday, was put back 48 hours after the hosts announced that debutant Alishan Sharafu, who batted at No 4 in Friday’s opening game, had tested positive from the swab taken after the game.

He was actually the third UAE squad member to test positive but the first two, vice-captain Chirag Suri and Aryan Lakra, who were revealed as having tested positive from the swabs taken last Wednesday, were not involved in the first game as they were already in self isolation in a government-run hotel.

The safety protocols in place for this tour involve all squad members being tested two days before each game, so because of the schedule — with the four matches being played on alternate days — the swabs are taken immediately after each game.

Although yesterday’s match was postponed, with the next due on Tuesday, the players were all tested after training yesterday and the results come in overnight.

While the opening game on Friday, which UAE won by six wickets despite an unbeaten century by Paul Stirling, went ahead, because of the revelation of the first two positive tests in the hosts’ squad, it was agreed the teams would not even fist pump each other after the game, as a precaution.

Any player who tests positive cannot be involved again until they return two negatives.

The new proposed schedule for the remaining three games in the series will see the matches all put back two days, so the series will now finish on Saturday, after the scheduled games tomorrow and Thursday.

Even with the extended series against UAE, Ireland will still have a five-day break before the first of the three World Cup Super League games against Afghanistan, also in Abu Dhabi, as that series was put back to start on January 21, to allow their opponents sufficient time to quarantine, after a delay in the players receiving their visas.

The Cricket Ireland statement, released on Saturday announcing the postponement of yesterday’s game said: The Emirates Cricket Board has advised us today of a further positive test amongst its playing squad and we have both agreed the safest course of action is to postpone the second ODI scheduled for tomorrow. We hope to play this match on the 16th January, all going well.

“All Irish players have tested negative. We appreciate the speed and transparency of Emirates Cricket to ensure that the health and safety of players, support staff and workers at the ground comes first.”

Six Ireland players put their names into the Pakistan Super League Draft, but none of Paul Stirling, Kevin O’Brien, Andrew Balbirnie, Gareth Delany, Harry Tector or George Dockrell, the only member of the sextet not currently in the UAE, was snapped up.

Afghanistan’s three big stars, Rashid Khan, Mujeeb Zadran and Mohammad Nabi, plus Noor Ahmed and Qais Ahmed were all bought. The tournament, which lasts for 31 days, starts on February 20.