Ireland-Scotland five-match series called off

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Scotland has withdrawn from the five-match series against Ireland that was to start on November 20 at the La Manga Club in Spain due to high levels of COVID-19 in Scotland, Cricket Ireland announced on Tuesday (November 17). The teams were to play two 50-over games and three T20Is.

"It was with great regret that we had to inform our players and support staff that Scotland has withdrawn from the tour on the eve of departure," said Richard Holdsworth, High Performance Director for Cricket Ireland.

"Despite significant work and planning by all parties to mitigate risks in regard to COVID-19, it is regrettable that we are where we are."

Both Scotland and Ireland had last played the T20 World Cup Qualifier in 2019 and were bereft of action having failed to make the cut for the global tournament. The call to postpone the series was taken because of specialist advice received in the last 24 hours to the players in Scotland because of the high levels of the coronavirus.

“From a cricket point of view the team are very disappointed but the safety of the squad has to come first,” said Steve Knox, coach of Scotland. “We look forward to the prospect of  re-arranging the series in the early part of next year.”

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The series was important from the point of view of the associate teams getting back in to action, given that 2021 is to witness at least two qualifying tournaments – for the World Cups in 2022.

“The tour was important to start building the players’ loads as preparation for next year’s World Cup Qualifier, particularly given the lack of international playing time for the squad this year,” said Holdsworth. “We shall take stock of the situation, and look to re-engineer our plans as soon as possible.”

The squads for the series had a bunch of youngsters that the teams wished to try out ahead of what promises to be a vital 18 months for women’s cricket, with 2022 being packed with three world tournaments including the Birmingham Commonwealth Games. However, taking into account the current scenario with respect to COVID-19, the boards felt it best to postpone the series to 2021.

“Our priority has always been for the safety of our players and, as a national governing body, we have a responsibility to react to the changed circumstances,” said Gus Mackay, CEO of Cricket Scotland.

“We would like to thank Cricket Ireland and La Manga for their co-operation and understanding and we look forward to playing the series when it is safe to do so. We very much appreciate the hard work put into planning the trip and are very sorry it has ultimately not been practical at our end to go ahead.”