The England touring squad had concerns about the Cape Town bio-bubble after they saw the Proteas players having a braai on the very first night at the Vineyard Hotel.
Both camps were tested for Covid-19 upon entry and the Proteas returned a positive case in David Miller, who was unavailable for the three T2oIs.
According to the Telegraph, the England players immediately had reservations about the secureness and safeness of the bubble when the whole Proteas squad was outside, appearing to be team building at a braai with little to no social distancing implemented.
Proteas chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra confirmed the get-together. He didn’t rule out the possibility that the braai could have caused the other Proteas positive case ahead of last week’s first ODI, which was called off as a result.
‘We did have an outdoor braai on the evening of Nov 18 when people came in [the bubble] for the first time. It was outdoors. I guess there was some degree of mixing. But they had been tested before they came in. I will take that criticism that there was a degree of laxity,’ said Dr Manjra.
‘The English players have possibly been a victim of their own success after they had zero number of cases over the summer. Players then find they are touring South Africa and have the same expectations of what they did in their bubble. Finger pointing does not help any cause. In the end, the cricket community is very small and we have to play each other many times over the next few years.’
The incidents of a cancelled ODI series raise a worrying concern for Cricket South Africa, who are set to welcome Sri Lanka in the coming weeks for a Test series before Australia are set to visit South Africa at the start of next year.
Dr Manjra also suspects that the two hotel staff members, who tested positive over this past weekend, could have been coronavirus carriers even if they tested negative upon entering the bubble.
One of those staff members were in extremely close contact with some of the England players, which sparked a frenzy within the England camp. The squad subsequently refused to play in Monday’s second ODI, despite the ECB telling them to do so.
‘My gut feeling is they [hotel staff members] came into the bubble and were incubating it and it manifested a while later. The third player is a mystery that I have not solved. I don’t know where that infection came from. I have stepped back five to seven days to think what did he do? Did he get a package from outside? There were a lot of packages coming from everywhere such as bats and kit for the players. We looked at the day when he received his last package. Then he also went to Boland Park and Newlands. It is possible something happened there. It is pure speculation,’ added Dr Manjra.