The first ODI between South Africa and England has been abandoned minutes before the start of the match in Paarl on Sunday (December 6). The match was earlier scheduled to play on Friday (December 4) in Cape Town was postponed to Sunday after a player from the home team tested positive for COVID-19.
The decision was taken after two members of hotel staff, where both teams were staying, tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday (December 5), putting the remaining tour in jeopardy. Neither team has reached Boland Park even an hour before start of the match, indicating that all was not well. England players had taken a COVID-19 test, the results of which are still awaited. Initially, the match was supposed to be delayed, but in a bid to avoid any risk, the match has been called-off, putting the rest of the tour in jeopardy as well.
"Whilst the ECB awaits ratification of those test results the decision has been taken to delay the start of today's ODI match," statements from CSA and the ECB said before the ODI was abandoned.
England had completed a 3-0 whitewash in the T20I series, which saw them to go top of the ICC T20I ranking, with Dawid registering the highest-ever ranking points.
CSA Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith said, “CSA is doing everything in our power to ensure that our top priority, which is the health, safety and welfare of players, support staff and all involved in this series is safeguarded. With that in mind, we have made the joint decision to cancel today’s match.
“We are deeply regretful of this situation given the amount of time and energy that has been put in place to host a successful tour. We will continue to give the England team all the support that they need.
“We are in continuous talks with the ECB as we navigate the situation under the guidance of our combined medical teams.”
Ashley Giles, Managing Director, England Men's Cricket, said, "We regret that we are unable to play in today’s ODI, but the welfare of the players and support staff is our primary concern and whilst we await the results of further tests the medical advice from both teams was that this game should not take place.
"We remain in constant dialogue with Cricket South Africa and will continue to work closely with them to determine how best to move forward.”
(Inputs from CSA media release)