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Heartbreak for Proteas women as tour of England called off

South Africa huddle after the Australian innings during the Women's T20 World Cup semi-final at the Sydney Cricket Ground on 5 March 2020. (Photo: EPA-EFE / Craig Golding)

South Africa’s restrictions on international travel have dealt a major blow to the Proteas women’s cricket team returning to the arena after a five-month layoff.

The South African senior women’s cricket side will have to wait a little bit longer to carry on where they left off when they reached the T20 World Cup semi-finals. 

This comes after Cricket South Africa (CSA) announced on Tuesday that they have told the England Cricket Board (ECB) that they will not be able to accept the invitation to tour the United Kingdom (UK) in September. 

CSA said this decision was taken in the light of international travel regulations in place for South African national teams. 

After the Proteas had sat at home for more than four months, a squad of 24 players was selected in preparation for the proposed tour. They gathered for a training camp on 27 July, and there was much excitement among the players as they looked forward to getting back on the field once more.

“It would definitely mean a lot if we could step out and play some cricket after four months. It’s been a long wait,” vice-captain Chloe Tryon had said after the conclusion of the training camp in July.

“The girls were definitely on a high after the World Cup despite the result. To be able to step out now with regards to what’s happening around the world, would mean a lot to us. Hopefully, it gets women’s cricket going again but also making sure that we’re going about it the right way, just staying safe.”

Now they will have to wait a little longer to not only get back on to the field, but to earn some money from a tour. This is their third tour affected by Covid-19. Australia were scheduled to travel to South Africa in March, but the tour was cancelled as a preventive measure before the Proteas’ visit to the West Indies was also postponed in May. 

Director of Cricket Graeme Smith said:

“It is frustrating that another opportunity for our Momentum Proteas to play against top-quality opposition has again had to be cancelled but as always, the safety of our players and support staff is the prime consideration.” 

According to CSA, the players, who were due to gather for another camp before departing for the UK, will now continue one-on-one training at their respective provinces. A revised training schedule will be announced. DM

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