ODI series to go ahead between SA and England
The South African cricket squad has tested negative for the novel coronavirus, allowing three ODI matches against England to start on Sunday in Paarl near Cape Town. A Cricket South Africa statement released on Saturday said the latest round of tests were done on Friday and they were "pleased to announce that the entire South African team has returned negative results". Here's more.
Concerns over series were there in relation to COVID-19
There were concerns earlier that the matches, rescheduled for Sunday, Monday and Wednesday in Cape Town, could get canceled after an unnamed South African player tested positive on Thursday despite the "bio bubble". Notably, the series was due to begin on Friday, but the match was called off just one hour before the scheduled start once the positive test was confirmed.
First ODI was postponed as CSA issued a statement
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."
SA officials were left puzzled
The decision to go ahead with the ODI series was a relief to South African officials, who were left puzzled as to how a player became infected with the virus in the "bubble". "This (positive) test has surprised us because we had confidence in the bio-secure environment," South African team doctor Shuaib Manjra said.
A look at the revised schedule
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.
England recently routed South Africa 3-0 in the T20I series
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.