South Africa women’s tour of England cancelled due to travel restriction in wake of COVID-19

South Africa women’s tour of England has been cancelled due to international travel regulations put in place for the country’s sports persons in wake of the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

The South African women’s team, which last played at the semifinals of the T20 World Cup in Australia in March, was scheduled to play four ODIs and two T20Is in a bio-secure environment in England.

“It is frustrating that another opportunity for our Momentum Proteas to play against top quality opposition has again had to be cancelled but as always the safety of our players and support staff is the prime consideration,” Director of Cricket Graeme Smith said in a statement.

Cricket South Africa have informed their England counterpart (ECB) that “they will not be able to accept the invitation to tour the UK in September 2020. This decision was taken due to the current international travel regulations in place for South African national teams.”

Last month, CSA had announced a 24-woman squad to begin training in Pretoria ahead of the series.

“They were expected to meet on August 16 at the Powerade High Performance Centre in Pretoria for their second training camp but will now continue one-on-one training at their respective Provinces. A revised training schedule will be announced in due course,” the Board said.

This is the third tour involving South Africa to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Australia were scheduled to travel to South Africa in March; however, the tour was cancelled as a preventative measure before the Proteas’ visit to the West Indies was postponed in May.

The Indian women’s team had pulled out of the proposed tour of England due to the COVID-19 pandemic last month. The Indian side was originally slated to play a bilateral series against England in June but it got postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

ECB then were in talks with BCCI and CSA to host a tri-series in September.

Despite both India and South Africa not able to accept the invitation to tour England, ECB said it is committed to hosting women’s international cricket this summer.

ECB Managing Director of Women’s Cricket, Clare Connor said: “We are immensely disappointed that we are not yet able to confirm fixtures for England Women this summer due to India and South Africa being unable to travel.

“We have been committed from the outset to deliver the same bio-secure standards for both men’s and women’s international cricket, an investment that included exclusive hotel use for teams, chartered flights and medical provisions.”

Connor further said: “An ECB team, with support from the Incora County Ground, Derby, has created a dedicated behind-closed-doors environment to host all of our women’s internationals.

“Women’s and girls’ cricket is a huge part of the ECB strategy and despite the devastating impact of COVID-19, this ambition has not waned. We continue to explore all options to see England Women play competitively this summer.”