SA vs ENG: First ODI called off amid COVID-19 scare
The first ODI between South Africa and England has been called off due to COVID-related reasons. It has been learned that the postponement relates to positive COVID-19 tests within the South Africa camp. Moreover, reports suggest that protocols were breached during the recently concluded T20I series. Notably, all players and support staff are set to undergo another round of tests on Friday afternoon.
The first of three-ODI series was supposed to be played at Newlands on Friday. However, the news of postponement started surfacing less than two hours before the scheduled start of the match. Later on, Cricket South Africa released an official statement on the same.
Here is what the statement revealed. "This decision results from a player from the Proteas testing positive for COVID-19 after the teams' last round of scheduled testing performed on Thursday ahead of the ODIs," it read. "In the interests of the safety and well-being of both teams, match officials and all involved in the match, have agreed to postpone the first fixture to Sunday."
Speaking on the same, Kugandrie Govender, CSA's acting CEO, said, "The doctors told that it is a perceived risk and not an actual risk, but boards have decided that we would rather have the players not go onto the field if there is any kind of risk," she said. "Everybody will be tested again today and there is a 24-hour turnaround for results."
As per the revised schedule, the opening ODI will now be held on December 6 at the Boland Park in Paarl. Meanwhile, the Newlands in Cape Town will host the following two games on December 7 and 9 respectively. Notably, the Western Cape, where both Cape Town and Paarl are situated, has seen a rise in COVID-19 cases of late.
Prior to the ODI series, England routed the home side in the three-match T20I series. They chased 192 in the final T20I to seal the series 3-0. After that, England dethroned Australia in the ICC Rankings to become the number one T20I side.