The Over-50s Cricket World Cup Tournament 2020 being staged in and around Cape Town has been cancelled with immediate effect because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Head coach Allan Donald expressed sadness following the decision by the organising committee.
The competition was scheduled to run from March 11-24.
The organising committee decided on the course of the third round of matches, which were then abandoned after the first innings.
“It is a public health risk decision,” said the head of the tournament’s medical committee, Dr. Parag Pandya in a statement issued on Tuesday.
“The decision was taken for the protection of the players, given their age demographic, but also for the local population given that 95% of known cases in South African have come from travellers,” explained Pandya.
Seven of the 11 visiting teams have been staying in the same Cape Town hotel where appropriate precautions have been taken and they will remain there until arrangements can be made for their repatriation.
“The decision was taken by the organising and medical committees but it is fully endorsed by the sponsors,” said Evergreen Lifestyle spokesperson Arthur Case.
“There was a great desire to continue but, in the end, it became apparent that cancellation was the right thing to do,” he said.
Taking to social media, the Free State born and bred coach said the decision to cancel was unfortunate but rather imperative, writing: “Where lives are involved, we must always take precautionary measures to preserves the lives of everyone involved, hence this was is a good move.”
South Africa was unbeaten in the tournament thus far – beating Wales and England.
Pool A: Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lanka, West Indies, Zimbabwe, Canada
Pool B: England, South Africa, Pakistan, India, Wales, Namibia.