Ken Borland
Sports Journalist
2 minute read
26 Nov 2021
4:03 pm

Dutch cricketers to stay in SA, for now — and India tour under threat

Ken Borland

The travel red list announcement has resulted in teams and individuals wanting to return to the UK as quickly as possible.

The Dutch cricket team celebrate taking the wicket of David Miller (not in the picture) during the first ODI against the Proteas in Centurion on Friday. Picture: Christiaan Kotze/Gallo Images

Last summer it was England and Australia controversially pulling out of tours to South Africa due to their Covid fears and now the current international season could be ripped apart as well as the Netherlands tour and the vital Indian visit are hanging in the balance following reports that local scientists had detected a new variant of the coronavirus in Gauteng and neighbouring countries.

The UK government started the panic when they put South Africa on the travel red list overnight, with the European Union expected to follow suit soon. This is despite scientists assuring that the new variant almost certainly does not come from South Africa; they have just been the first to identify it.

More than half-a-dozen of the Netherlands players are based in the UK, meaning they will have problems returning home after their three-match ODI series against the Proteas ends on Wednesday.

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CSA issued a statement on Friday afternoon, while the Netherlands innings in the first ODI had been interrupted by rain at Centurion, saying it was highly unlikely that the tourists will be able to leave before the end of the weekend.

Given that they would have to quarantine for 10 days in a hotel if they do not return home as soon as possible, it is understandable that the Dutch team wanted to head off on Friday. But they will now probably only be able to leave on December 2 (Thursday), due to the lack of flights available in the hysteria. It is believed their federation is willing to cover the costs of quarantine.

That means the third ODI, scheduled for December 1, could still go ahead and the series can be completed, unless some other flight option is discovered by the KNCB.

India tour

While CSA and the Proteas will be disappointed to not complete the series, they – and especially their meagre coffers – would be devastated if the India tour set to start on December 17 does not go ahead.

India are set to fly to South Africa on December 8, but reports from India suggest the BCCI is waiting for their government to make a decision regarding travel to South Africa.

India A are currently in Bloemfontein playing the first of a three-match series of four-day games and CSA sources have told The Citizen they have expressed no concern about staying in the country.

Meanwhile, at the Joburg Open golf tournament at Randpark, co-sanctioned with the DP World Tour (formerly known as the European Tour), thunderstorms caused delays on Friday, but 20 European-based golfers, out of the field of 156, withdrew before the second round began, trying to scramble their way home before the travel deadline.