South Africa replaces two COVID-infected players in 2nd Test against Bangladesh; first time in international cricket

In a first instance of COVID-19 substitution in international cricket, South Africa’s Sarel Erwee and Wiaan Mulder were replaced by Khaya Zondo and Glenton Stuurman in the playing eleven of the second Test against Bangladesh after testing positive for the virus on Monday.

Erwee and Mulder were tested on Monday morning, the fourth day of the Test, and returned positive results.

“Khaya Zondo will make his Test debut on Day 4 of the 2nd #BetwayTest against Bangladesh after Sarel Erwee and Wiaan Mulder tested positive for Covid-19,” a Cricket South Africa tweet said. “The pair replaced with Zondo and Glenton Stuurman.”

South Africa won the second Test by 332 runs on the fourth day itself to clinch the two-match series 2-0.

“This is an unfortunate situation, but not unexpected after the decision was made to have this tour under the Managed Event Environment (MEE) protocol, rather than the strict Bio-safe Environment (BSE) Protocol as was previously the case,” CSA chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra said.

“This is in line with the country’s policy in revoking the Disaster Management Act with reference to the pandemic, as well the huge mental strain that a bubble environment induces.”

The series is being played in a managed environment, not in a bio-bubble. Players are not limited to their hotel rooms and are allowed to go out — with the advice that they should stick to open-air restaurants and the outdoors — and mingle with other people.

This is the first instance of the COVID substitution protocol being used in international cricket.

COVID replacement incidents had happened earlier in the Plunket Shield in New Zealand and County Championship in UK but not in international cricket.

It is also just the second instance of two substitutes for a team in the same match in international cricket — Bangladesh had two concussion subs against India in 2019.

According to ESPNcricinfo, Bangladesh’s coach Russell Domingo has not been able to attend the Test after contracting COVID-19 last week while South Africa’s bowling coach Charl Langeveldt and security officer Zunaid Wadee were also not at the match venue after testing positive on Friday.

All COVID-related restrictions, apart from mask-wearing in indoor spaces and limitations on the number of people at gatherings, have been lifted in South Africa.

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