Two South Africa cricket players test positive for COVID-19

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA (AP) – Two players on the South Africa cricket squad have tested positive for COVID-19, the national association said yesterday.

The players were not named.

The positive tests came at a team culture camp that involved more than 30 of the country’s
top players.

Cricket South Africa (CSA) said it performed 50 tests on players and staff at the camp at the Kruger National Park wildlife reserve in the northern part of the country. The two players were asymptomatic, it said, have been isolated and will be monitored by the CSA medical team.

Former captain Faf du Plessis is not at the camp because of the birth of his second child.

The five-day camp, aimed at building team spirit, started on Tuesday and was prompted by a troubling few months for cricket in South Africa.

CSA has seen its reputation badly damaged by a long-running investigation into alleged misconduct by its CEO, two high-profile resignations in the last week, and claims by Black players who have now retired that they were shunned by white teammates and treated unfairly by management during their time with the national squad.

Members of the South Africa cricket team during a nets practice session in Dharmsala, India. PHOTO: AP

Those racism allegations by ex-players came after current fast bowler Lungi Ngidi expressed his support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Although Ngidi didn’t detail any racism during his career, his stance on Black Lives Matter provoked former players to recount their experiences with the team.

The most hard-hitting revelations were that of Makhaya Ntini, the first Black African to play cricket for South Africa and one of its best-ever fast bowlers. In an interview on South African television last month, Ntini told how he felt “forever lonely” on the mainly white team during his 11-year international career from 1998-2009.

Other Black former players said they weren’t given the same opportunities that whites were as cricket, like many aspects of South African society, grappled with the country’s racist past under the apartheid regime.

Alongside the allegations challenging the culture of the team, CEO Thabang Moroe has been suspended since last year and CSA hasn’t released the findings of an investigation into his actions despite receiving a final report weeks ago.

CSA President Chris Nenzani and Moroe’s temporary replacement, Jacques Faul, both resigned in the last week even though their terms were due to end next month.