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News

USA-Ireland ODI series pushed back again by a day due to multiple Covid-19 cases

If the first of the remaining two ODIs cannot be played on Wednesday, the series might be cancelled altogether

The second ODI between USA and Ireland is scheduled for Wednesday after the first one was cancelled  •  Peter Della Penna

The second ODI between USA and Ireland is scheduled for Wednesday after the first one was cancelled  •  Peter Della Penna

The second half of the limited-overs series between USA and Ireland is on thin ice after the first of the remaining two scheduled ODIs was postponed by another 24 hours from December 28 to 29, USA Cricket announced late on Monday night. ESPNcricinfo understands that the decision was made following multiple positive Covid-19 cases in both travelling parties.
If the first of the remaining two ODIs cannot be played on December 29 - all matches have been scheduled for Lauderhill - officials from both sides are expected to agree to pull the plug on the ODI series altogether rather than playing a standalone ODI, which was originally scheduled as the third and final match on December 30. The series cannot be pushed back beyond that date because Ireland's travelling squad is due to fly out of Miami on December 31 to land in Jamaica for the start of their limited-overs series against West Indies.
It is also understood that one member of the support staff with the Ireland squad has tested positive. However, no new positive Covid-19 tests have been produced by players beyond those who had tested positive ahead of the first T20I.
The USA squad's Covid-19 situation is somewhat more complex as multiple players have tested positive between training sessions held on December 26 and 27. But at least two of those are believed to be false positives after players returned negative tests upon submitting subsequent retested samples. Another round of tests is due to be taken on Tuesday, and if there are no more new positive tests, the series is expected to finally commence as a two-match affair on December 29 at 10am local time, with the final ODI slated for a 2pm local time start on December 30.
After completing the two-match T20I series without any hiccups, this is now the latest issue plaguing the ODI leg of the tour which was due to start on December 26. The ODI series was originally scheduled to be a three-match affair but was reduced to two after the first match was cancelled due to a positive Covid-19 test among the crew of match officials.
Though only one official tested positive, the rest of the officiating crew were deemed to be close contacts, and therefore, were made unavailable. No replacement officials meeting the ICC certification standard were able to be flown in at short notice. The three officials who did not test positive have continued to produce negative tests daily and are expected to officiate should the series be able to continue December 29, with the first of the remaining two ODIs.

Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo's USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna