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England’s tour of SA called off after COVID-19 outbreak

By Bet Barter

December 9, 2020

England’s tour of South Africa is sadly going to end on account of the COVID-19 outbreak. The 3 ODIs have been canceled, with a possibility that they might take place at a later stage. This decision came into call prior to the postponing of the 1st ODI. The 1st ODI was postponed 3 times in 4 days. Eventually, there was a confirmation on Monday afternoon that the series will discontinue.

The announcement was made via a joint statement of the South Africa Cricket Association and the England Cricket Board. On Monday, an England spokesman criticized a claim saying that the players breached COVID-19 protocols whilst training. The chief executives of both the CSA and ECB cited welfare as the utmost concern in the decision to cancel the ongoing tour. Players have also displayed their concerns regarding the bio-bubble breach.

The ODI series, comprising 3 matches, is an essential step in the road to qualification for the 2023 World Cup. England is set to tour Bangladesh, Pakistan, Australia, and West Indies. With the T20 World Cup looming as well, it will be quite the challenge to find time to host the ODI series between England and South Africa.

The decision to postpone most reasonable: CSA CEO

CSA CEO Kugandrie Govender has stated that a player's health and welfare is not something to tamper with. Govender has also appreciated the cooperation from the England Cricket Board and would want to set a date whenever possible.

ECB chief executive Tom Harrison has also agreed to the same. He believes that a player’s health is paramount to the team and their fans. Hence, both the ECB and CSA have mutually agreed to go forward with this step. Tom has praised the CSA for their courtesy and understanding to take the right step at the right time.

The cancellation of the ongoing tour is questioning the feasibility of SA’s tour of Sri Lanka later on. South Africa is also set to play against Australia and Pakistan at home. With the Covid-19 infection rising by up to 43% in the Western Cape, things look bleak at the moment. It is also rumored that the CSA might lose up to 2 million USD on the postponement of the ODI series. Any other tour cancellations would land a major blow to the South Africa Cricket Association.

England and South Africa have already contested a T20I series between them this year. England managed to complete a clean sweep against the Proteas, winning the series 3-0.

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