England’s South Africa tour hanging in balance amid Covid-19 test wait


ngland are nervously awaiting independent verification of the two positive Covid-19 tests recorded in their party, with the tour of South Africa hanging in the balance. 

The tour was thrown into crisis on Friday when the first ODI was postponed an hour before it was due to begin because a South African player tested positive.

England – who have had some misgivings throughout the tour about the strength of the bio-secure bubble in which the teams are living – want proof that the results are not “false positives” and must then plot a path to their scheduled departure on Thursday. 

If the positives do prove correct, the individuals will be required to quarantine in South Africa. 

It remains possible that, if the tests are negative, two ODIs could be played on Tuesday and Wednesday ahead of Thursday’s departure, but that appears a very long shot. 

On Sunday night, Tom Curran became the second English player, following Tom Banton, to pull out of the Big Bash, which starts this week, due to bubble fatigue.

Curran followed the English summer with a trip to the IPL, so has been in bio-secure bubbles for much of the year. The Australian government subjects international arrivals to two weeks quarantine alone in a hotel room, which takes a further toll. 

Curran said he “just needed some time, normality, see family and be home”. 

Sam Billings, Jason Roy, Lewis Gregory and Liam Livingstone are still due to travel from South Africa to Australia for the tournament this week.

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