England blame ‘unacceptable’ Newlands facilities after claims of bio-bubble protocols breach

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Cape Town [South Africa], December 7  The usage of a previously off-limits nets facility at Newlands has come out as a possible reason for the coronavirus cases within the England contingent.
The England Cricket Board (ECB) has also hit back at the claims made by Western Province officials that their cricketers had violated the bio-bubble protocol for a practice session on the eve of Friday’s scheduled first ODI.
According to a report in ESPNcricinfo, an email by Western Province informed the ECB about their players using a nets facility neighboring a construction site near the ground ahead of the first ODI.
The apex body of cricket in England hit back at these claims and said the need for the net session arose due to the “unacceptable” standard of practice pitches provided.
“On arrival at Newlands on 3 December, we advised the venue that the three nets provided on the main pitch were not of a standard for conducive practice, as per the Memorandum of Understanding signed by the respective boards,” ESPNcricinfo quoted an ECB statement as saying.
“Batsmen were unable to face seam bowlers on the nets on the main pitch as the surfaces were rendered and unacceptable. We requested with CSA that we would like to use the practice nets and that we would create a security cordon to ensure the players and coaches could enter the facility safely, as done previously on 28 November,” the statement further read.
“This was confirmed by England’s Security Team, the Team Operations Manager and the Team Doctor. We were satisfied with this outcome and we were able to practice in the net facility safely,” it added.
The first match of the ODI series was initially postponed ahead of the game after a home team player tested positive for coronavirus.
On Sunday, the rearranged first ODI between England and South Africa was cancelled too as two members of the hotel staff tested positive for COVID-19.
Minutes after cancelling the first ODI against England, CSA on Sunday had confirmed that two members of England’s touring party had returned unconfirmed positive tests for COVID-19.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) and ECB on Monday agreed to postpone the remaining matches of the ODI series with an eye on the coronavirus cases that have been reported over the last few days.
As per a CSA release, the decision was taken jointly by the two boards to ensure the mental and physical health and welfare of players from both teams. CSA and the ECB will now work together to determine when the three-match series, which forms part of the ICC Cricket Men’s Super League, can take place in the future.
England had white-washed South Africa in the shortest format after registering a thumping nine-wicket win in the third T20I.

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