England’s tour was called off on Monday after two members of the touring party initially tested positive for Covid-19

The Chair of Cricket South Africa’s Interim Board has said there was “no justification” for England to abandon their ODI series against the Proteas.

England flew out of Cape Town on a charter flight this morning, three days after the postponement of the tour due to a lack of confidence in the biosecure bubble in which the two teams were living.

Last Friday, the first ODI was postponed at an hour’s notice due to one of South Africa’s players testing positive for Covid-19. Attempts were made to play on Sunday and Monday, but two hotel staff, then two of England’s party also tested positive, thwarting those efforts.

Those England tests were examined and proved to be false positives on Tuesday, but by then the series had been postponed. Ashley Giles, England’s Managing Director of Cricket, said the players’ were not in the right frame of mind to play the games due to the uncertainty caused by the breached bubble.

Yacoob said he believed CSA had been “too lax with the English and their desire to do things that they shouldn’t be doing.”

“What I want to negate is an idea that our provision of services was substandard and that there is any justification for the English saying they did not want to participate and go home,” he said. “The facts are that ultimately, they were negative. We have gone into or protocols and we think that our protocols have been very good.

“There may have been an issue of psychological troubles. People may have felt nervous about false positives. Our position is that we do not wish to blame the English, but we wish to say absolutely and completely that any notion that they went away because it was in any way our fault, is completely wrong.

“There is an awkward narrative coming out that third world countries can’t manage these things properly. I can say we have been managing the virus much better than England. There was some attempt to ensure that in relation to what happened with England, Sri Lanka should not come here. They are coming next week, I hope.”

Sri Lanka is due to play in South Africa, before England’s head to Sri Lanka in January. Yacoob said he was “95% certain” Sri Lanka would make the trip to South Africa.

CSA Director of cricket Graeme Smith said there had been no engagement on the tour issue with his Australian counterparts but an operational meeting was planned for next week.



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