Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 31 May 2020

Coronavirus: UAE tour for Cricket World Cup postponed

Triangular series in Florida against USA and Scotland will be moved to another date

UAE bowler Junaid Siddique. Satish Kumar for The National
UAE bowler Junaid Siddique. Satish Kumar for The National

UAE’s tour to Florida for the Cricket World Cup League Two has been postponed.

The national side had been due to play a triangular series against the United States and Scotland, starting on April 1.

It has been called off due to the situation relating to the spread of coronavirus.

“We have been monitoring the [series] very closely, with recent travel restrictions being imposed globally and uncertainty for participants returning home, we have taken the decision to postpone the series,” Chris Tetley, ICC’s head of events, said.

“Working closely with USA Cricket, Cricket Scotland and the Emirates Cricket Board, all parties felt the best decision was to postpone and together we will find an alternative space in the calendar to reschedule the series.”

Broward County, where the one-day international series was due to take place, has 11 confirmed cases of coronavirus.

That is the most of any county in Florida, a state which has seen its number of cases double in recent days.

UAE already have one match outstanding in the competition, to be rearranged for an as yet unspecified later date.

That was their final match of their series in Oman in January. The fixture against the host team was called off after the death of Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.

Discussions have taken place as to when that match will be played, but a solution has yet to be confirmed.

It is also unclear when the series in Florida will take place. UAE’s next scheduled assignment in the competition is in Papua New Guinea in June.

The coronavirus has also affected incoming tours to the UAE. On Thursday, Somerset became the latest English county side to cancel a pre-season tour to the country.

“In light of the current global situation regarding coronavirus, Somerset County Cricket Club have taken the informed decision to cancel our planned pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi,” the club said on their website.

They had been due to arrive in the capital on Sunday, March 15, for training as well as friendly matches against fellow county sides Essex and Worcestershire.

However, Worcestershire had already announced they were not coming a day earlier.

“We have been monitoring the situation on a daily basis over the last couple of weeks, ensuring that we didn’t lose sight of the value and benefit that preparing for the season on grass overseas would give us,” Andy Hurry, Somerset’s director of cricket, said.

“We have endeavoured to give ourselves as much time as possible to make this best-informed decision, allowing us to consider our position as more information has become available on a daily basis.

“Obviously, the health and wellbeing of our players, support staff and their families are of the highest importance.

“Although Abu Dhabi has appropriate protocols in place, the change of the [UK’s] national state from ‘contain’ to ‘delay’ coupled with the potential escalation of any isolation process for those returning to the UK have become key factors in the decision making process.”

Lancashire also cancelled their pre-season tour to Dubai earlier in the month, for similar reasons.

The ICC has also decided to hold a board meeting scheduled for later this month via conference call, rather than assembling in Dubai.

Updated: March 13, 2020 11:47 AM

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