Members of the South Africa squad have been asked to practice social distancing and self-isolation for the next 14 days as part of the precautionary protocols to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
South Africa were recently in India, where they scheduled to play three ODIs out of which one was abandoned due to persistent rain while the remaining two had to be postponed in the wake of the WHO-declared COVID-19 pandemic.
Several players in the Proteas contingent were then set to compete in the Indian Premier League, originally slated to begin on March 29 but is now deferred to April 15.
Dr Shuaib Manjra, Cricket South Africa’s medical officer, said the cancellation had been decided because of rising concerns over the rapidly aggravating global coronavirus situation.
“CSA had engaged in a risk assessment before the tour,” he stated.
“We deemed the risk to be very low. While on tour the world became a different place and we had to take cognisance of the fact that there was a change in the global environment.”
He added the players were worried about their families and the circumstances in South Africa, following which the risks were reassessed and this decision was reached.
“Ultimately the players’ frame of mind was the determining factor,” he claimed.
Dr Manjra also assured the team had effectively been in isolation in India and travelled in highly sanitised environments.
But he said the playing squad had decided to act according to expert guidance to curb any potential spread of the virus.
“We’ve educated the players about the disease. We’ve recommended that all players self-isolate and social-distance themselves for a minimum of 14 days to protect people around them and their communities.”
The COVID-19 outbreak has completely wiped out the sporting calendar for the foreseeable future with uncertainty hovering over the resumption of normal operations.