New Covid-19 variant threatens to upset South Africa’s international cricket schedule

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Netherlands, who are already in the country, will play their first ODI today, but the fate of the next two games is unknown

The Netherlands cricket team management will meet with CSA officials this morning to decide if the second and third matches of the three-ODI series will go ahead as planned after a new Covid-19 variant made its presence felt in the country this week. South Africa is due to be added to the UK’s red list and travel restrictions from other countries are expected to follow. Today’s ODI should go ahead as planned with the Dutch confirmed to be on the way to SuperSport Park in Centurion.

The new variant has more mutations and transmits more easily but it is not known whether it causes more severe illnesses than the Delta variant. South African scientists will meet with the World Health Organisation in an effort to find out more. Cases in South Africa have risen three-fold in the last week.

The fourth wave of the pandemic is expected to peak in the next few weeks and will coincide with a packed summer schedule. The Indian men’s team is due to play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is from mid-December, while the West Indies women’s team will tour the country in January ahead of the Women’s World Cup. The Indian men’s ‘A’ team is also currently in South Africa, playing the first four-day game in Bloemfontein. They are scheduled to play two more four-day games on the tour.

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo’s South Africa correspondent

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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