Disgraced Australian batsman Peter Handscomb tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday (July 11), forcing him to miss a county game against Leicestershire. The 30-year-old leads Middlesex in the County Championship this season.

Peter Handscomb is currently isolating himself and in his absence, Irish cricketer Tim Murtagh has taken responsibility for leading the team in this Group 2 game.

“Irishman Tim Murtagh replaced Handscomb as skipper when Middlesex ended the first day of their clash with Leicestershire 3-280,” read a report in The West Australian.

Middlesex won the throw and chose to beat first in that game and were quite impressive on the opening day of the four day game. Sam Robson led the attack with a brilliant undefeated century at the end of the game on Day 1 while New Zealander Daryl Mitchell scored 38 runs. Edward Barnes, Abidine Sakande and Ben Mike have each picked up a wicket so far.

Peter Handscombs struggles with form

Peter Handscomb has not had a good run with the racket lately. The Melbourne-born cricketer last wore Australian colors two years ago in his country’s semi-final defeat by England at the 2019 ICC World Cup. A series of poor performances at the highest level has meant that he has been repeatedly overlooked by national team selections.

Peter Handscomb had his fair share of fights at the district championship as well. He has struggled to inspire his troops from the front lines and has failed to break the 50-run mark for the team in his last 13 innings. Handscomb has shot a duck three times, with a high score of only 36 in those 13 innings.

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Middlesex are currently at the bottom of the points table in Group 2 with just one win from nine games. They only have 63 points on their name, 44 points less than Leicestershire, which is one place above them on the table. Currently, Somerset is top of Group 2 with 134 points (4 wins in 9 games), while Gloucestershire is second with 129 points (5 wins in 9 games).