20 Oct

England’s cricket tour to South Africa next month is set to go ahead after the South African government agreed to let the squad train outdoors during their period of quarantine.

The normal requirements are that visitors from high-risk countries, such as the UK, must stay in their hotel rooms for ten days but an agreement has been reached to waive that and allow the team to train within a biosecure environment.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), which has said it will put the mental health and wellbeing of its players at the forefront of any decisions, would not agree to tour unless the players could train outside.

It is expected that the ECB will now charter a private flight, which it has agreed to pay for, to take Eoin Morgan’s squad to Cape Town on November 17 where they will stay at the Vineyard Hotel and train at the nearby Western Province Cricket Club.

The tour will comprise three one-day internationals and three T20s, which will be split between Newlands in Cape Town and Boland Park in Paarl, and it is expected that England will be able to take their strongest squad as this tour will take place after the Indian Premier League (IPL) and before the Big Bash League (BBL) in Australia, for which some of the white-ball players have signed up.

It is likely that England will take a bigger than usual squad — perhaps more than 20 players — because of the strict Covid-19 protocols. This will be the first time South Africa will have played since they toured India in March.

England have already played three-match ODI and T20 series in February this year. The 50-over series was drawn but England prevailed 2-1 in the T20s.

John Stephenson


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