Cricket South Africa (CSA) chief medical officer Dr. Shuaib Manjra said England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has created more of a “vacuum” than a “bio-secure environment” for the cricket matches during this COVID-19 era after the South Africa-England ODI series was called off midway on medical grounds.
Dr. Manjra, who was in charge of creating South Africa's bio-secure bubble for the home series, was “devastated” that England's tour was canceled after three members of the Proteas team and two members of the Vineyard Hotel staff tested positive for COVID-19.
England has completed their full summer of international cricket without a single COVID-19 positive test thanks to their two perfect bio-secure bubbles on on-site hotels and Manjra believes that the ECB has set the bar of expectation impossibly high for the rest of the cricketing world.
He said so while pointing out that it was financially or logistically impossible for any other country to create the bio-secure bubble similar to how they did.
Manjra told Sportsmail: “I could not be more disappointed but I said before the tour that we should expect some positive tests and that the question would be how we treated and managed them. The ECB created more of a 'vacuum' than a 'bio-secure environment' for their international season at enormous cost - and at two venues perfect for the requirements with on-site hotels.”
He added, “It was suggested to me that the term 'bio-secure' is revisited because I don't believe it is financially or logistically possible for any other country to create the environment that the ECB did without enforcing a virtual police state. We operated safely and I am confident that the venues did all they could to keep a secure perimeter. But this is a virus that the whole world has struggled to control.”
Dr. Manjra also reacted to the news that England was allowed playing golf during the 10-day quarantine period before the tour started, saying: “Golf was a key request for the tour to go ahead and we were comfortable with that because some allowances have to be made for the players' mental wellbeing.”
He signed off by saying, “Many of the England players have been in some sort of bubble for months and you cannot expect them to sit in their rooms all day. They were transported in accredited vehicles to the first tee and never visited the clubhouse. Such concessions will have to be made if we want to continue playing cricket.”