South Africa, England postpone start of ODI series due to COVID-19

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA - DECEMBER 01: Jos Buttler (R) and Dawid Malan of England celebrate amongst the South Africans after securing England a 3-0 series victory during the 3rd Twenty20 International between South Africa and England at Newlands Cricket Ground on December 01, 2020 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The start of the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series between South Africa and England was postponed after a South African player tested positive for COVID-19.

FILE PHOTO: Jos Buttler (R) and Dawid Malan of England celebrate after securing England a 3-0 series victory during the 3rd T20 International between South Africa and England. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

The first game which was due to be played on December 5 will now be played on December 6 at The Eurolux Boland Park in Paarl.

A join statement by Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) said the positive result was returned after a round of testing on Thursday before the ODIs. The statement, however, did not name the player who tested positive.

“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,” the statement read in part.

The Managing Director of England Men’s Cricket, Ashley Giles, expressed hope that the series will be completed before they leave on Thursday. He further said England will remain at its base in Cape Town from December 4-5.

“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,” Giles said.

All South African players and hotel staff are due to be tested on December 5, Proteas doctor Shuaib Manjra said, with a course of action to be determined upon receipt of the results. Another round of testing will be done on December 8, before the final match.

The second and third ODIs have been scheduled to take place at Newlands in Cape Town on December 7 and 9.

Last month, one South African player tested positive for COVID-19, and two others were placed in isolation, prior to the start of the three-match T20I series which England went on to win 3-0.