After the England tour of South Africa was called off mid-way, the hosts blamed the visiting nation for breaching a bio-secure environment for their practice session. South Africa’s Western Province cricket officials stated England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and the local police that they won’t be responsible for the health of English players, who opted to practice in an outdoor net facility.
ECB has cleared that they had opted out for practicing outside because the rest of the available pitches were not up to the standard at Newlands, a cricket venue in Cape Town.
“On arrival at Newlands on 3 December, we advised the venue that the three nets provided on the main pitch were not of a standard for conducive practice, as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the respective boards. Batsmen were unable to face seam bowlers on the nets on the main pitch as the surfaces were rendered and unacceptable,” ECB spokesperson as quoted by ESPNcricinfo.
ECB had requested CSA to provide them security cordon:
ECB spokesperson added that they requested Cricket South Africa (CSA) to give them the security cordon so the practice can be done in the outbound net facility. The same way happened during the T20I series on November-28.
“We requested with CSA that we would like to use the practice nets and that we would create a security cordon to ensure the players and coaches could enter the facility safely, as done previously on 28- November. This was confirmed by England’s Security Team, the Team Operations Manager, and the Team Doctor. We were satisfied with this outcome, and we were able to practice in the net facility safely,” added the English spokesperson.
South Africa were set to play the three-match ODI series after being clean sweep by England in the T20I series. However, the hosts could not proceed as per plan because hotel staff, a South African player and two unconfirmed positive results returned from England’s camp.