Proteas to return home as India cancels short ODI tour

South Africa's Lungi Ngidi (L) speaks with teammate David Miller during a practice session ahead of the first one day international (ODI) cricket match of a three-match series between India and South Africa, at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium in Dharamsala on March 11, 2020. (Photo by SAJJAD HUSSAIN / AFP) / ----IMAGE RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE - STRICTLY NO COMMERCIAL USE-----

The final two matches of the ODI series were initially slated to be played behind closed doors, but the continued spread of COVID-19 has prompted more radical action.

The Proteas ‘ final two One-Day Internationals (ODIs) against India has been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

While none of the teams’ players have been affected, the decision is in line with the India government’s ban on mass gatherings and follows the Indian Premier League being suspended until April 15.

Earlier, England abruptly ditched their tour of Sri Lanka due to fears over the pandemic and psychological stress of their families in the UK, where the outbreak is intensifying rapidly.

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Cricket South Africa (CSA) also said that they are ‘”closely monitoring the tour of the Protea Men’s team in India and we are in constant consultation with medical and virology experts, stakeholders in government, the BCCI and the team. We will apply our minds to the input of experts and act in a way that reflects our duty of caring for our players”.

The Indians clearly forced everyone’s hands.

Reports quoted a senior Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) official saying that the country is facing a “serious pandemic” and consequently had to act.

The Proteas will return to Delhi and board the earliest available flight back to South Africa.

The BCCI, after Thursday’s first match in Dharamsala was rained out, initially announced that the final two clashes in the series scheduled for Lucknow on Sunday (15 March) and Kolkata next Wednesday (18 March) would “merely” be played behind closed doors.

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