England cricket chiefs confident of no Covid-19 flouting in South Africa after West Indies rule breaking
12th November 2020

ENGLAND are confident their players will not break Covid-19 rules when confined to their luxury hotel in Cape Town for four weeks.

The players will be allowed out only to train and play three Twenty20 and three 50-over matches against South Africa.

And, after West Indies’ players flouted protocols in New Zealand, Eoin Morgan’s squad will be told again to stick to the instructions.

The Windies squad has been barred from training again before their first warm-up match on Friday after players from two separate bubbles in their hotel in Christchurch socialised in hallways and shared food.

Cricket West Indies boss Johnny Grave has ordered a probe and said: “We’re extremely disappointed that four or five players seem to have interacted with other members of their respective bubbles.

“Our players are probably the most experienced in the world dealing with these strict measures. The majority of the players were in a seven-week quarantine bubble in England during the summer and then in Trinidad during the Caribbean Premier League. 

“The players knew the protocols and have clearly broken them by mixing together. We’re surprised they have let themselves and the team down.”

The England and South African teams, match officials and some Cricket South Africa staff will stay at the Vineyard Hotel, about 1km from the ground at Newlands.

Hotel staff will stay on-site to protect the bubble.

England will be tested for Covid-19 before their departure on Monday and again on arrival. The teams will be kept apart, staying on different floors with separate dining areas, but the measures will be less strict than in New Zealand.

An ECB spokesperson explained: “The squads won’t be split into separate bubbles like the West Indies are. The template will be similar to England during the summer which means players and management can mix, while observing social distancing.”

Jofra Archer was banned for a Test in the summer after making an unsolicited trip to his home in Brighton.

Bruce French has stood down as England wicketkeeping coach after 11 years. The ex-England stumper, a keen mountaineer, normally took a 30-metre rope on tour. 

French will be replaced by Essex’s James Foster with Somerset legend Marcus Trescothick working as batting coach in South Africa and Jon Lewis in charge of the bowlers. Head coach Chris Silverwood and deputies Graham Thorpe and Paul Collingwood make up the coaching team.

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