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South Africa-Netherlands ODI series called off amidst COVID-19 fears

A new variant of COVID-19 is gripping South Africa

Netherlands team
Netherlands team (Image Credit: Twitter)

Amidst the growing fears of a new variant of Covid-19 in South Africa, the three-match ODI series between the Proteas and Netherlands have been called off. The series got underway yesterday, November 26. However, the match could not be completed due to rain. The cricket boards of both teams mutually decided to abandon the series for safety of the players. They will now look to reschedule the series in 2023.

The new variant of COVID-19 is assumed to be far more lethal and deadly. It is learned that the virus is resistant to many vaccines and can cause more severe symptoms. Consequently, many European countries have started banning flights from South Africa.

Cricket South Africa Acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki was disappointed by the turn of events but said the mental health and safety of players were the top priority. “We are disappointed by the unfortunate situation we find ourselves in, but the comfort of all visiting teams must always be paramount. The mental well-being of players is one of CSA’s top priorities, and we respect our visitors’ position and point of view,” Moseki said

“CSA and KNCB will get into discussions around possibly rescheduling the tour within this cycle of the ICC Future Tours Programme ending in 2023,” he added.

Netherlands Cricket Board chairman, Jurgen Delfos said, “We are saddened by these circumstances, but are grateful to Cricket South Africa for their assistance and understanding of our team’s position. It must be made clear that the concerns are strictly over travel issues and how soon the team can get home and have nothing to do with the integrity of the Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) that CSA has successfully hosted. Our team has been pleased with every aspect of the organisation of the tour and have been well treated by our hosts.”

“We have been looking forward to this series against the Proteas for some time and are keen on returning to South Africa in the near future,” he added.

Meanwhile, the recent developments have put India’s tour of South Africa in jeopardy. The teams are set to play three Tests, as many ODIs and four T20Is in December – January. As of now, BCCI are keen on going ahead with the tour. However, they will keep monitoring the COVID-19 situation in the country and will take a final call before the team’s departure for South Africa in the second week of December.

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