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CSA postpone Division 2 four-day matches due to COVID-19

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Johannesburg, Dec 2 (IANS) Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Thursday postponed all three Division 2 four-day matches scheduled to take place between December 2-5 after some players were tested positive for COVID-19.

The domestic cricket is not being held under the strict measures and with cases going up countrywide, several of those due to take part in this week’s matches have tested positive.

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This is the first disruption to the domestic cricket season in South Africa since the discovery of the Omicron variant of coronavirus last week. Earlier, the second and third ODIs between South Africa and Netherlands were called off after several countries, including many in the European Union, imposed travel restrictions on southern Africa.

“The competition is not being held in a Bio-Secure Environment (BSE) and in the last couple of days, some positive COVID-19 test results have emerged following team pre-arrival testing sessions,” the CSA said in a statement.

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“Activating the precautionary and preventive measures stipulated in the organisation’s COVID-19 protocols to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all involved is a top priority for CSA. CSA is monitoring the situation closely and a decision regarding the remainder of the fixtures this year will be made in due course as it develops,” it added.

The development comes just two weeks before the start of South Africa’s three-Test, three-ODI and four-T20I with India.

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Notably, the India A team is currently in a bio-bubble in Bloemfontein, where they are playing the second of three unofficial Tests and there is no indication of them leaving earlier than planned. However, it’s understood there are concerns about the senior side’s arrival because South African scientists predict that cases will continue to go up in the country in the next month.

Speaking on the eve of India’s second Test against New Zealand, Virat Kohli, Test and ODI skipper said that a conversation has been initiated within the team and expected a clarity on the situation soon.

“We’re not playing in normal times anyway. So there’s a lot of planning involved. There’s a lot of preparation involved in terms of understanding exactly what’s going to go on. There are players who are not part of the group right now who will be entering quarantine to join the team, in the bubble, to fly in a charter. Those kinds of things, you want to seek clarity as soon as possible,” said Kohli at the pre-match press conference on Thursday.

“We have spoken to all the senior members of the squad. Obviously Rahul bhai has initiated a conversation within the group, which is very important to know. At the end of the day we understand – our focus from the Test match will not shift regardless – but you want to have clarity and want to be in a situation where you know exactly what’s going on. We’ve been talking to the board and we are pretty confident that within a day or two, or pretty soon we’ll have absolute clarity as to what is going on,” he added.

–IANS

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