Warriors coach Robin Peterson
- Local cricket’s return has been dogged by Covid-19 even before the new domestic has started after two Warriors players tested positive.
- As a result, no less than six playing members are unavailable for the team’s opening four-day meeting with the Knights starting on Monday.
- Robin Peterson, the Warriors coach, said “constant communication” is now the name of the game.
The start of the domestic cricket season has been dogged by Covid-19 even before a ball has been bowled.
Six Warriors players will be unavailable for their team’s opening game of the 4-Day Franchise Series against the Knights in Bloemfontein starting on Monday.
The franchise had to implement Cricket South Africa’s relevant protocols after two senior players, Aya Gqamane and Lesiba Ngoepe, returned positive tests during mandatory testing.
Four others, including skipper Yaseen Vallie, have been forced to self-isolate after being identified as direct contacts.
“Yes, we’re missing six of our players for the game,” Robbie Peterson, the Warriors coach, confirmed to Sport24 on Sunday evening.
“It’s definitely not an ideal way to start the campaign, especially after this long break but it’s something we’re dealing with. With due respect, this maybe pales in a bit in comparison to heartache so many other South Africans have had to endure during this pandemic.”
The former Proteas spinner noted that the Warriors are now in “constant communication” with CSA.
“There are quite a number of things that have needed to happen. Our medical staff have been working with the national medical head to keep him abreast of the situation and also follow the protocols that are required of us,” he said.
Another headache for the team is that they’ve had to correspond with CSA’s transformation committee as the affected players mean the Warriors won’t be able to fulfil its squad composition targets for the match.
Franchises are required to field six black players in each starting XI.
“We’re confident that we’ll be granted a bit of leeway,” said Peterson.
Meanwhile, Graeme Smith, CSA’s director of cricket gave the assurance that the federation is doing everything in its power to ensure player safety.
“We take a lot of guidance from our medical team. There is testing taking place regularly. It is impossible to create secure facilities across the board.
“There are still domestic players testing positive and we are going to have to deal with it. There is also a responsibility on the franchises and the franchise CEO’s,” he told IOL Sport.
It’s understood the rest of the franchises’ testing went smoothly.