No justification for England to go home early - CSA

By Peter Thompson 10 December 2020 2
No justification for England to go home early - CSA

The chair of Cricket South Africa's (CSA) interim board says there was no justification for England to cut short their tour without facing the Proteas in an ODI series.

World champions England flew home on Thursday despite two 'unconfirmed positive' coronavirus cases in the touring party being confirmed as false positives.

The one-day series was initially delayed and then cancelled due to positive tests within the bio-secure bubble.

A South Africa player and two hotel staff members were discovered to have COVID-19, forcing games scheduled for last Friday and Sunday to be postponed before the 'unconfirmed positive' tests in the England party were reported.

Judge Zak Yacoob will not accept that the hosts should take any blame for the ODI series not going ahead on a day it was confirmed Sri Lanka will arrive for two Tests in South Africa - the first of which starts on Boxing Day.

"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," the chair of CSA's interim board said in a virtual news conference. 

"The facts are that ultimately, they were negative [test results]. We have gone into our 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."

He added: "Many aspects of the operational side are not working and I don't want to go into details of that because then those in charge of the operational side will start running to the newspapers to say how bad the board is.

Judge Yacoob, however, acknowledges CSA should possibly have imposed stricter rules on the England party.

"The only criticism I can make, and I am not even authorised to make it, is that we were too lax with the English and their desire to do things which in our strict view they shouldn't be doing," he said.

"We were stronger on preventing our players from doing things and we allowed the visitors a little more laxity. There's a courtesy thing, because they are visitors and so on."

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