Fear of new Covid-19 variant may postpone Netherlands tour of South Africa

Sky Sports Cricket/ Twitter

The Netherlands could postpone their away series against South Africa due to the fear of the new Covid-19 variant spread in the country. If that happens, it would be the fourth time that South Africa gets impacted by Covid-19 in their home series.

Recognized on Tuesday that a new Covid-19 variant named the B.1.1.529 variant spreads faster and carries more mutations than all the other variants we have seen in the past.

The new variant has caused fear throughout the World that it could adversely negate the efficiency of the vaccines. 

Initially, the news was coming that the Netherlands has decided to go back home after meeting with CSA directives on Friday even though they were at Centurion playing their first of three scheduled ODI matches.

With several countries imposing new travel restrictions for the travelers from Southern Africa in the light of newly spread variant.

In that case, the players would have to spend more time in the quarantine period on their way back home. 

Several Dutch members of the squad play and live in the UK, whose government has banned non-residents from the region from entering the country to reduce the spread of the virus and instituted compulsory, self-funded hotel quarantine if they arrive after 4 am on Sunday.

There are higher chances that the Dutch may postpone the tour as there are chances that the flights may get restricted following the spread of the new variant.

They may have to stay in Africa to complete the duration of the series which ends on Wednesday.

A CSA official tried to balance the equation on Friday. The official made it clear that it is not possible for the Netherlands to fly back to their homes over the weekend but they prefer the mental and physical well-being of players.

The final decision from both the cricket boards will come within 24 to 48 hours.

“Both boards can confirm that following updated information, it is highly unlikely that the visiting team will be able to fly out of South Africa over the weekend. The KNCB [Koninklijke Nederlandse Cricket Bond] is reviewing all of its options while prioritizing the physical and mental well-being of its players. A decision on the continuation of the series will follow in the next 24 to 48 hours, while all flight options are being considered.”

India A is also currently in South Africa to play three four-day matches at Bloemfontein but as of now, it looks that the tour is not under any threat.

The South African would want that to remain the same as the senior Indian side is scheduled to visit South Africa in December and January, an opportunity that would pump millions of dollars into cash-strapped CSA’s coffers.

England has abandoned their last men’s white-ball series in South Africa in December with half of the matches left unplayed in the wake of positive Covid-19 tests at the hotel.

In February, Australia postponed a Test series against South Africa scheduled for March and April over pandemic fears. 

Australia’s women’s cricket team followed the same path, calling off a white-ball tour in March 10 days before the first match was to have been played following the spread of the pandemic.