England Cricket Board’s decision to call off the remaining fixtures of their South African tour has left Nasser Hussain surprised. The impending ODI series after the three T20Is that took place smoothly got called off on Monday on medical grounds as multiple instances of bio-bubble protocols breach along with COVID-19 cases emerged. Nasser Hussain was critical of England’s decision not to co-operate with South Africa when other teams helped ECB save millions by touring the nation this summer.
On the eve of the first ODI in Paarl on December 3rd, a South African player tested positive for COVID-19 that resulted in the match’s postponement and ultimately cancellation. Ahead of the second ODI, two unconfirmed positive COVID-19 instances came to light from the England camp. It forced the ECB and CSA to delay the second ODI too until confirmation. With increased insecurities about the bio-bubble too, the ECB decided to abandon the ODIs.
Nasser Hussain underlined that it seems odd that the England squad, which has remained unaffected due to COVID-19 during their stay in South Africa, have declared they will not play three games. The former English captain pointed out that a possibility might emerge down the line as to whether the visitors could have played those matches. Hussain went on to remind the favour Australia, Pakistan, Ireland, and West Indies did the ECB by touring the nation and observed the money Cricket South Africa spent on this short tour to keep international cricket alive.
“There are questions to answer. For one, it does seem incredibly odd that an England squad who have not been affected by Covid at all during their stay in South Africa have upped sticks and gone home with three games left to play. Maybe down the line, the players might look back on this and think, ‘Could we have played those games? Was it that bad? After all, they only have to think back to the summer to remember what West Indies, Pakistan, Australia and Ireland did to make sure the English season could take place in full. It saved millions of pounds for the ECB. Then look at all the effort and money Cricket South Africa put into this short tour to make sure the lights could be kept switched on for international cricket,” Nasser Hussain said as quoted by News18.
Nasser Hussain opens up on Ashley Giles’ statement:
At the same time, the cricketer-turned-commentator concentrated on the statement of England Cricket director Ashley Giles, who felt the players were not in the right frame of mind while the bio-bubble fatigue was also kicking in. Hence, according to the 52-year old, if the cricketers felt anxious and wanted out, the authorities had no choice but to listen.
“But, as Giles said, they cannot have been in the right frame of mind to play and the bottom line is that it has been affecting the players’ mental health, while bubble fatigue after nine months of playing cricket in an unnatural environment is kicking in. If the ECB are rightfully saying the players’ well-being is their primary concern then they had little option than to listen when the team told them this week they were feeling anxious and wanted out,” he added.