Omicron Covid-19 variant claims Proteas ODI series against Netherlands

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South Africa's Mark Boucher
South Africa's Mark Boucher
Matthew Lewis-ICC/Getty Images

Cricket South Africa (CSA) in conjunction with the Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond (KNCB) have resolved to hold the ODI series between the Proteas and the Netherlands which began on Friday in abeyance following the emergence of the Omicron Covid-19 variant.

In a statement on Saturday, CSA said: "The decision comes as a result of mounting anxiety and concern on the side of the visiting team around travel bans and restrictions on flights from South Africa being imposed by several countries around the world including the United Kingdom (UK), European Union (EU) and the United States of America (USA).

"These actions are as a result of Thursday’s announcement by the National Department of Health of South Africa of a new variant of the COVID-19 virus discovered in the country."

Proceedings on Friday were put paid to due to rain after the Proteas set Netherlands a score 278 to chase at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Kyle Verreynne's 95 and Andile Phehlukwayo's 22-ball 48 were the pick of the highlights for the host team, with the rain leading to the match being abandoned after just two overs in the Netherlands' run-chase.

The presence of the Omicron variant in South Africa was announced on Thursday by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases.

"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," said CSA acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki.

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

Chairperson of the KNCB 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.

 The Netherlands team will remain in the BSE hotel until their return flights have been finalised with the support of key CSA BSE staff.

On Friday, Sport24 reported that Moseki said the much-needed India tour that's scheduled for next month is very much on the cards. 

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