South Africa vs England series in crisis as second ODI postponed after new COVID cases

South Africa vs England 2nd ODI: The second One-Day International (ODI) between South Africa and England, which was scheduled to take place at Six Gun Grill Newlands on Monday 7 December, has now been postponed after unconfirmed reports claims two members of England team have been tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday.

The decision has been taken by Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) whilst they await the outcome of the independent ratification of the two unconfirmed positive COVID-19 tests from the England camp and the continued health and wellbeing of both playing groups.

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Earlier on Sunday, the rescheduled first ODI was abandoned after two hotel staff tested positive.

Notably, the three-match series is in jeopardy after a number of COVID-19 cases in the bio-secure environment at the hotel both teams share, including a South African player, two hotel staff and potentially two members of the England party.

“The decision has been taken by Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) whilst they await the outcome of the independent ratification of the two unconfirmed positive COVID-19 tests from the England camp and the continued health and wellbeing of both playing groups,” CSA said in a statement on Sunday.

“Once the findings of this review have been received, CSA and ECB will then discuss how best to proceed concerning the remaining two matches of this ODI Series.”

The series had been scheduled to start on Friday but was delayed after an unnamed South African player tested positive during a mandatory round of testing following the three Twenty20 Internationals that were all won by England.

The start was pushed to Sunday, but after two staff members at the Vineyard Hotel also tested positive, members of the England touring party underwent a fresh round of tests.

These resulted in two unconfirmed positive results that forced the cancellation of the first ODI, and now the postponement of the second.

England are due to leave South Africa on a chartered flight on Thursday and so could potentially still play two of the ODIs at Newlands on Tuesday and Wednesday.

The unconfirmed positive results take to seven the number of COVID-19 related incidents on the six-match white-ball tour, two of which occurred in the South Africa camp before the series started. There have now been five in the bio-secure environment.

Roy Davies, general manager of the Vineyard Hotel, said they are investigating a potential breach of security.

“At this stage, it is not clear how the staff members became infected as neither have left the bio-secure area since 16 November and they do not work on the same team or in the same area,” he said in a statement.

“Our COVID-19 response team is endeavouring to establish all the facts and contact tracing is underway.”

He confirmed that all other staff had been re-tested and given a clean bill of health.

It would be a huge blow for cash-strapped Cricket South Africa if the rest of the tour were to be cancelled and place into doubt future visits by Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Australia in the next few months.