Kent forced to cancel South Africa trip
Kent forced to cancel South Africa trip

Kent Cricket have announced that they will be cancelling their pre-season tour to South Africa due to the current Coronavirus outbreak.

Matt Walker’s squad were expected to spend a few weeks in the sun preparing for the new campaign, but have been forced to change their plans.

The club have issued the following statement:

Kent Cricket continues to monitor the situation regarding the outbreak of COVID-19 in the United Kingdom. We remain vigilant, and will continue to keep in-line with the Government and NHS England’s latest advice.

We remain in close contact with our governing body, the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB), and we continue to receive regular guidance from Department for Culture Media and Sport (DCMS).

The health and safety of our staff, players, coaches, members and visitors remains our top priority.

In light of this, the decision has been made to return all Kent Cricket personnel to the UK from their pre-season tour of South Africa this weekend.

This is the right decision for our players and support staff as the Club exercises its duty of care over its staff.

Visitors to the Club are reminded of NHS England’s current guidelines to avoid close contact by staying indoors and avoiding contact with other people if they have had contact with those returning from high-risk areas, or if they experience symptoms themselves.”

The news come on the back of the decision of England to cancel their tour of Sri Lanka with Kent players Joe Denly and Zak Crawley involved.

There is also some doubt as to whether the County Championship will either start in time or whether games will have to be played behind closed doors.

The ECB issued their own statement on Friday afternoon:

“We are undertaking a number of steps to prepare for potential outcomes that an ongoing situation with Covid-19 might bring for the cricket community here in England and Wales.

In conjunction with our partners across the network, we are building contingency plans across a number of possible eventualities.

Our main priorities are to ensure we scope out the landscape for financial, logistical and scheduling implications.

It is difficult for us to be sure of what outcomes the game might be expected to deal with. Therefore, we will continue to plan for the expectation that the season proceeds as normal, but in parallel prepare for a range of scenarios. These could include the possibility of playing matches behind closed doors, or potentially postponing or cancelling elements of the season.

We continue to enjoy constructive dialogue with DCMS and also our commercial and broadcast partners – who match our ambitions to see the game of cricket thrive in 2020 and beyond. We are certain that jointly, we will all come to solutions that best protect those who love cricket, and the game itself.”