MUMBAI: England's tour of South Africa has been called off, Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) jointly announced Tuesday. The development follows the outbreak of COVID-19 among both teams' camps and staff at their hotel.
The two boards declared the decision was taken "to ensure the mental and physical health and welfare of players from both teams".
ESPNcricinfo reports that the tour was ultimetely called off after the opening ODI of the series was pushed back three times in four days, having originally been scheduled to take place at Newlands on Friday, before failed attempts to stage games at Paarl on Sunday, and at Newlands again on Monday.
The three-match ODI series forms part of the qualification process for the 2023 World Cup via the ICC's new Super League. Though the joint statement issued by the two boards asserts that the tour is only being postponed, finding a window in a packed 2021 cricket calendar will likely prove impossible.
Official statement issued Monday by CSA and ECB:
Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have agreed to postpone the remaining matches in the current men’s ODI Series.
The decision was taken jointly by the two Boards to ensure the mental and physical health and welfare of players from both teams.
The CSA and ECB will now work together to determine when the three-match Series, which forms part of the ICC Cricket Men’s Super League, can take place in the future.
CSA Acting CEO, Kugandrie Govender said: “The concern over the mental health impact of recent events on all involved is not one that we as CSA or the ECB take lightly, and the decision to postpone the tour is the most responsible and reasonable course of action for us.
“I would like to thank the ECB for the continued positive relations, and we look forward to hosting the England men’s team in the near future.”
Tom Harrison, ECB chief executive officer, said: “We have always maintained that the welfare of our players and management is paramount. We were concerned about the potential impact that recent developments might have on the wellbeing of the touring party, and so after consultation with Cricket South Africa, we have jointly made the decision to postpone the remaining matches in this Series, in the best interest of the players’ welfare.
“I would like to thank Cricket South Africa for their support and understanding on this matter and look forward to working with them to identify a time when we can return to play these fixtures in the future.”