Hosts Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the Netherlands Cricket Board (KNCB) have announced to mutually postpone the three-match ODI series due to concerns over the new Covid-19 variant.
With the sudden spike in Covid-19 cases in South Africa, many countries around the world had imposed restrictions on flights arriving from South Africa following which there were also concerns in the Netherlands camp following which the series was postponed.
The two teams have already played the first ODI on Friday (November 26) which ended in a no-result due to continous rain in the second part of the innings.
The two boards – CSA and KNCB – would now hope to complete the remaining matches of the series before the completion of the ODI league cycle in 2023.
“We are disappointed by the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, but the comfort of all visiting teams must always be paramount,” CSA Acting CEO, Pholetsi Moseki said.
“The mental well-being of players is one of CSA’s top priorities, and we respect our visitors’ position and point of view. CSA and KNCB will get into discussions around possibly rescheduling the tour within this cycle of the ICC Future Tours Programme ending in 2023,” he added.
On the other hand, chairman of the KNCB Jurgen Delfos said: “We are saddened by these circumstances, but are grateful to Cricket South Africa for their assistance and understanding of our team’s position. It must be made clear that the concerns are strictly over travel issues and how soon the team can get home and have nothing to do with the integrity of the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) that CSA has successfully hosted. Our team has been pleased with every aspect of the organisation of the tour and have been well treated by our hosts.”
“We have been looking forward to this series against the Proteas for some time and are keen on returning to South Africa in the near future,” he added.
Meanwhile, CSA further said that the visiting Netherlands team will remain in the BSE hotel until their return flights have been finalised.
On the other hand, the Indian team is also scheduled to travel South Africa for three Tests, as many ODIs and four-match ODI series however, the spread of the new variant of Covid-19 in the African nation has raised doubts over the upcoming tour.
The fourth wave of the pandemic is likely to witness a peak in South Africa in the next few weeks which would coincide with India’s tour.
Reacting on the possibility of a spike in pandemic, CSA had said that they are monitoring the situation in different parts of their country and will keep the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) updated about the developments.
“We are in contact with the BCCI and there is no prejudice to the Indian tour to South Africa at this stage. We will, of course, continue to monitor developments regarding the spread of the virus and keep the BCCI informed. As CSA we remain committed to ensuring that all visiting teams and Proteas players are afforded a safe environment to play cricket,” Lawson Naidoo, the head of CSA, was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Indian ‘A’ men’s team is currently in South Africa and is scheduled to play two more four-day games which start on November 29 and December 6 after the first affair ended in a draw.
As per report, the touring team, which is currently in Bloemfontein, had a series of meetings with the CSA officials and the local medical team following which it decided to complete the three-match series.