England criticised for ending tour of South Africa early over bio-secure bubble concerns
Judge Zak Yacoob, the chair of Cricket South Africa's interim board, defends Proteas' coronavirus protocols and says there is no 'justification for the English saying they did not want to participate and go home'
Last Updated: 10/12/20 4:28pm
Cricket South Africa says there was no justification for England to end their tour without playing any one-day internationals.
England's players departed South Africa on Thursday following the abandonment of the three-match ODI series on Monday without a ball bowled.
CSA and the England and Wales Cricket Board released a joint statement explaining that the decision was made "to ensure the mental and physical health and welfare of players from both teams" after a number of coronavirus cases in the bio-secure bubble.
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However, on Tuesday it was confirmed the two "unconfirmed positive tests" among the England touring party were in fact false positives - creating the possibility of back-to-back ODIs being played on Tuesday and Wednesday before the squad departed.
Had those - or any subsequent tests - come back positive, England's players would have had to spend 10 days in isolation before flying home.
Speaking on Tuesday, Sky Sports pundit Mike Atherton reflected: "I think it is a fair question to ask if the cancellation was hasty given the suspicion the tests were false positives."
Now Judge Zak Yacoob, the chair of CSA's interim board, told a media conference that the COVID-19 protocols in place were not at fault.
"What I want to negate is an idea that our provision of services was substandard and that there is any justification for the English saying they did not want to participate and go home," said Yacoob.
"The facts are that ultimately, they were negative. We have gone into our protocols and we think that our protocols have been very good.
"There may have been an issue of psychological troubles. People may have felt nervous about false positives. Our position is that we do not wish to blame the English, but we wish to say absolutely and completely that any notion that they went away because it was in any way our fault, is completely wrong.
"The only criticism I can make, and I am not even authorised to make it, is that we were too lax with the English and their desire to do things which in our strict view they shouldn't be doing."
The ECB declined an invitation from the Press Association to comment on Yacoob's remarks.