England tour of South Africa 2020
It is a battle of Poms and Proteas. England cricket team has presently gone to South Africa to take part in the three one-day International matches (ODI) and three Twenty20 international matches. England tour of South Africa 2020 has begun in November and is scheduled to be over in the next month in December. The ODI series has been selected as a part of the opening
• South Africa vs England 2020 match squad
Under Quinton De Cock's captaincy South Africa's 19-member squad in this England tour of South Africa 2020 consists of Temba Bavuma, Junior Dala, Bjorn Fortuin, Reeza Hendricks, Beuran Hendricks, George Linde, Keshav Maharaj, David Miller, Lungi Ngidi, Kagiso Rabada, Andile Phehlukwayo, Lutho Sipamla, Glenton Stuurman, Rassie van der Dussen, Faf du Plessis, Heinrich Klassen, Anrich Nortje, Dwaine Pretorius, Tabraiz Shamsi, JJ Smuts, Pite van Biljon and Kyle Verreynne.
On the other hand captain of the English team for this series, England tour of South Africa is Eoin Morgan. The other members are Jonny Bairstow, Jos Butler, Lewis Gregory, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Reece Topley, Mark Wood, Moeen Ali, Sam Billings, Tom Kuran, Liam Livingstone, Joe Root, Olly Stone, and Chris Woakes.
• The threat of COVID-19
It was the beginning of October 2020 the South African cricket control board Cricket South Africa had submitted a request letter to its parliament as a part of the first initiative for hosting England tour of South Africa. Like everything, this England tour of South Africa was also totally uncertain due to COVID-19. Cricket South Africa tried to explain the need for England tour of South Africa 2020, citing the importance of the revival of cricket between the countries. Then, even amidst the pandemic continuing its domination, both South Africa and England cricket boards agreed to the England tour of South Africa 2020. The fixture was made. The matches were settled to be staged at Cape Town and Paarl.
• The match schedule and result of T20 international matches
The opening match in the England tour of South Africa was scheduled at Cape Town on 27th November. England won the match by five wickets. The second T20 international match had been slotted in Paarl on 29th November. The Poms won this match also to secure the T20 international series by four wickets. The 3rd T20 international match took place in Cape Town again on 1st December. Dawid Malan (88 off 44 balls) and Jos Butler (66 off 45 balls) steered England to a nine-wicket victory to clinch a 3-0 triumph in the T20 series.
• The match schedule for the ODI series
The three one-day international matches between England and South Africa were slated to be held on 4th, 7th, and on 9th December in Cape Town and Paarl.
• Bubble in bio-security bursts!
COVID-19 seems to have been the key invisible opposition of both England and South Africa in this series! The English team has already been staying in a bio-secure environment. Both the teams had reached the ground on 4th December to start the opening ODI. But hours before the commencement of the match Cricket South Africa announced that a player from the Proteas team, violating COVID protocols, tested positive for COVID-19. So both the teams were sent back to hotels and the canceled ODI was rescheduled for 6th December at Paarl.
But the 6th December ODI has also been abandoned after two employees of the Vineyard hotel where both England and South Africa teams were staying were found to be suspect of COVID-19 positive. The aggression of COVID-19 continued as the 2nd ODI match, scheduled to be held at Cape Town also had to be canceled following the employees of the Vineyard hotel confirming COVID-19 positive. The reports from South Africa have added more anxiety as two players of the English team had returned due to 'unconfirmed' positive tests for COVID-19! Cricket South Africa has also confirmed that all the players and management staff have started self-isolation in their respective rooms till further notice they receive from the medical teams.
The third and final ODI match of the series that is scheduled to be staged on 9th December on Wednesday at Cape Town now hangs in utmost uncertainty.
• Can the ODI series be completed?
The only question that has been haunting the cricket lovers of both England and South Africa is can the ODI series be completed finally? According to both England and Wales Cricket Board and CSA, the series can be finished theoretically. If two players of the English team who have 'unconfirmed' COVID positive can return with negative reports then the remaining ODI matches can be replayed back-to-back this week. England team has been asked to spend ten-day quarantine. This means England will be missing its return chartered flight. ECB and CSA are in discussion about the fate of the ODI series although no proper decision has yet been issued by the respective boards.
• Quarantine frustration!
According to South African newspapers, several England players are getting frustrated with the ongoing quarantine phase and the key reason behind their disappointment according to South African newspapers is that neither they are being able to play matches in South Africa nor being able to spend time with family. Even it has been learned that some players like Sam Billings, Tom Curran, Lewis Gregory had tried to make deal with the clubs in the Big Bash League but that also seems uncertain as the England cricketers' ongoing quarantine phase will not be over by the Big Bash League starts this week!
• How COVID entered the camps?
Instead of the battle of Poms and Proteas on the crease, the England tour of South Africa is going to end with the war of words between the two national cricket control boards! Cricket South Africa has accused that England cricket had violated COVID protocol, attending an unapproved practice session at Newlands on the eve of the scheduled first match of the ODI series. CSA has claimed also that the England cricket players were asked to secure the nets with a proper cordon as there was a construction site adjacent to the nets. ECB however did not want to admit and stated that the practice pitches were not up to the mark and that forced them to move to Kelvin Grove End ground at Newlands for the net session.