England’s white-ball tour of South Africa next month has finally been given the government go-ahead, and will consist of three T20Is and three ODIs from November 27 to December 9.
Due to Covid-19 protocols, England will arrive in mid-November – as revealed by ESPNcricinfo earlier this week – and will be limited to two venues in the Western Cape, Newlands in Cape Town, and Boland Park in Park. The full fixture details will follow at a later date.
“This is a wonderful boost for cricket,” Kugandrie Govender, CSA Acting Chief Executive, said. “And, although all the matches will have to be played behind closed doors, I am sure that our Proteas fans will rally behind South Africa’s favourite team as they always do, but just on alternative digital and social media platforms.”
It is believed that the South Africa government agreed to waiver the normal requirements for visitors from counties deemed ‘high risk’ in terms of Covid-19 infection, as is currently the case for the UK.
Tthe ECB are expected to charter a flight to Cape Town which will arrive on November 17, ahead of the first international match 10 days later. The squad will stay at the Vineyard Hotel and train, initially at least, at the Western Province Cricket Club ground where they will play inter-squad warm-up games. South Africa will later join them at the same hotel.
Had the South Africa government refused to allow a dispensation, the touring party would have been obliged to quarantine in their hotel rooms for at least a week at the start of the tour. It seems the ECB would have declined to tour under these circumstances.
The squad will still be obliged to quarantine, but they will be allowed to train and use certain parts of the hotel during that period.
“We are looking forward to touring South Africa,” said Tom Harrison, the ECB chief executive. “I would like to personally thank Cricket South Africa for their efforts in ensuring this tour goes ahead and their diligent work to create an environment that is safe for our players and staff. They are working tirelessly to pull together a bio-secure plan in Cape Town and Paarl.
“We owe it to the sport that we do everything we can to keep international competition progressing during this pandemic.”
It will be the first action for South Africa men’s national team since they returned home from India in March, when the pandemic hit. Shortly before that tour, they had faced run England close in another white-ball series, drawing 1-1 in the ODIs before losing 2-1 in the T20Is.
“Series against the Proteas are always exciting and intense. We saw that earlier this year in South Africa and we can expect the same this time around,” Harrison added.
Full report to follow
ESPN Sports Media Ltd.