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News

CSA postpones round four of Division 2 four-day matches after Covid-19 cases emerge

Domestic cricket in South Africa does not take place under strict biosecure bubbles

Firdose Moonda
Firdose Moonda
02-Dec-2021
South Africa and Netherlands take a knee in support of anti-racism, South Africa vs Netherlands, 1st ODI, Centurion, November 26, 2021

Last week, the second and third ODIs between South Africa and Netherlands were called off  •  AFP/Getty Images

CSA has postponed all three Division 2 four-day matches scheduled to start on Thursday after some players were tested positive for Covid-19. The one-day matches due to take place on December 16 have also been pushed back to 2022. This is the first disruption to the domestic cricket season in South Africa since the discovery of the Omicron variant of coronavirus last week and the second major casualty of the pandemic this summer.
Last week, the second and third ODIs between South Africa and Netherlands were called off after several countries, including many in the European Union, imposed travel restrictions on southern Africa. The Dutch team remains in a biosecure bubble in the country and will leave later this week.
On the contrary, domestic cricket in South Africa does not take place under the same strict measures, and with cases going up countrywide, several of those due to take part in this week's matches have tested positive.
"Activating the precautionary and preventive measures stipulated in the organisation's Covid-19 protocols to ensure the health, safety and well-being of all involved is a top priority for CSA," a CSA statement read. "CSA is monitoring the situation closely and a decision regarding the remainder of the fixtures this year will be made in due course as it develops."
As things stand, a full round of Division 1 four-day fixtures is due to be played between December 19 to 22 before the festive break. At this stage, those matches remain on the schedule.
The news comes on the heels of South Africa awaiting the Indian government's permission to allow their men's team to embark on a three-Test, three-ODI and four-T20I tour from mid-December. The India A team is currently in a bio-bubble in Bloemfontein, where they are playing the second of three unofficial Tests and there is no indication of them leaving earlier than planned.
However, it's understood there are concerns about the senior side's arrival, not least because South African scientists predict that cases will continue to go up in the next month. On Wednesday, South Africa reported 8561 new cases, up from 4373 the day before.
India's Test captain Virat Kohli expects the team to get clarity on the tour "in a day or two", while some Indian media are reporting that the BCCI may need more time to decide if the tour will go ahead and has requested to push things back by a week. CSA, though, has not received any communication from the BCCI regarding a change in the schedule. "There hasn't been such a request or discussion with the BCCI, hence it is purely speculation unless or until they engage us on this. So as of now, CSA is not aware of this," Pholetsi Moseki, CSA's acting CEO, told ESPNcricinfo.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent