Positive Covid-19 test in SA’s limited overs squad sends ripples through the England camp

England captain Eoin Morgan is back in the country with his team for the second time this year after their tour during SA's home summer from December last year.
England captain Eoin Morgan is back in the country with his team for the second time this year after their tour during SA's home summer from December last year.
Image: Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

The positive Covid-19 test that’s reduced South Africa’s limited overs squad strength by three players has sent ripples through the England camp.

While Proteas team director Mark Boucher said the player who tested positive is not at the hotel that England and South Africa are sharing in Cape Town‚ a positive test is of significant concern for both teams.

England’s South African-born limited overs biffer Dawid Malan understands the reason to keep their environment as safe as possible.

“We have all the rules in place and as the England squad‚ we are sticking to them. We know how important being here and this tour is.

"Anything that we can do to minimise the risk is something that we will do. We can’t afford to have three or four people going down at this time of the tour‚” Malan said.

Having played his formative school cricket in South Africa and making his first-class and limited overs debut for Boland against Border in 2006‚ Malan may have an eye for noticing racism and its associated behaviours better than some of his team-mates.

South Africa was gripped by the Black Lives Matter movement‚ but in England‚ it went further by highlighting covert and overt discrimination against minorities.

While there have been many instances of racial discrimination in English cricket‚ the latest one has been of two former umpires in John Holder and Ismail Dawood‚ who’ve asked the England and Wales Cricket Board to start an enquiry into a lack of diversity.

Malan said he hasn’t experienced racism‚ but it needs to be weeded out and dealt with as it has no room in sport.

“It’s not something I have experienced. It’s not nice to hear these stories come out and it’s really good that measures are being taken to allow this never to happen again.

"In this England team‚ people come from all over the world and as a team we have a responsibility of driving certain things.

"We’re working closely with the ECB with sorting some things out and putting things that we feel strongly about because there isn’t a place for racism in sport‚” Malan said.

“It is something that we sit down and we have chats about as a group. It’s something we feel strongly about and not something we want to see take place in the game.

"If there is anything we can do as a group of England players to help change whatever that has happened‚ then that’s something we’ll push hard to do.”

Should Malan get an opportunity to play in the three T20’s that start next week Friday at Newlands‚ he could get an opportunity to play at Boland Park in Paarl.

When he made his senior bow at the ground‚ he made 27 and 64 while opening in the three-day games‚ but was out for a duck in a five-wicket win in the 50-over game.

He’s cast himself as an excellent limited overs player but the challenge of playing against South Africa is one that he is gladly looking forward to.

“Playing against South Africa‚ they’re always a fantastic team‚ regardless of the format.

"They’re always a hell of a challenge‚ especially at home.

"You look at how their players did in the IPL and that shows the depth they’ve got. It’s going to be a fantastic series.” Malan said.

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