South Africa vs England ODI postponed due to positive Covid-19 test

Opening fixture in Cape Town called off just an hour before play was due to get under way

Jack de Menezes
Sports News Correspondent
Friday 04 December 2020 12:56 GMT
England’s opening ODI against South Africa has been postponed
England’s opening ODI against South Africa has been postponed (Getty)

England’s opening One-Day International against South Africa has been postponed just an hour before the start of play after a Covid-19 test returned positive.

A member of the South African side returned a positive coronavirus result following the latest round of testing on Thursday, and Cricket South Africa confirmed that “in the interests of safety” the opening fixture at Newlands will be moved to Sunday to allow further testing to take place.

A Cricket South Africa statement read: “Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England Cricket Board (ECB) would like to announce the postponement of the first Betway One-Day International (ODI) of the three-match series to Sunday, 6 December 2020.

“This decision results from a player from the Proteas team testing positive for Covid-19 after the teams’ last round of scheduled testing performed on Thursday ahead of the ODIs.

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“In the interests of the safety and well-being of both teams, match officials and all involved in the match, the Acting CEO of CSA, Kugandrie Govender as well as the CEO of the ECB, Tom Harrison, have agreed to postpone the first fixture to Sunday.”

Ashley Giles, managing director of England men's cricket, issued a brief statement following the postponement declaring himself "hopeful" that the matches could be successfully staged.

"On behalf of the England touring party and the ECB, I would like to thank Cricket South Africa for their collaborative approach to postponing today's one-day international," he said.

"Our number one priority is the health and safety of the England team and management group, and the correct decision was made following discussions between the two boards and respective medical teams.

"The England party will remain at its base in Cape Town on Friday and Saturday and we are hopeful that the three-match series will be played before we depart next Thursday starting with the match at Paarl on Sunday."

Sunday’s opening ODI will take place at Paarl’s Boland Park instead of Cape Town’s Newlands Stadium, which will now host the second and third contests next week.

News of the postponement first began to circulate around Newlands when the England team was sent back to their hotel in close proximity to the Cape Town ground. It quickly became apparent that their absence meant that the match had been thrown into doubt, and the decision to get the players away from the stadium helped to minimise the risk of exposure to Covid-19.

It is the latest setback for a South African side that has already had to deal with coronavirus-based issues. Their build-up to the T20 series against England last month was disrupted by a number of positive Covid-19 tests, which resulted in an intra-squad training match being cancelled.

England’s latest round of coronavirus testing returned all negative results ahead of Friday’s opening ODI.

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