The Emirates Cricket Board
The Emirates Cricket Board Image Credit: ECB Twitter

Dubai: The Emirates Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that the second ODI against Ireland on Sunday is to be rescheduled for January 16 following the confirmation that UAE player Alishan Sharafu tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday.

The ECB issued a statement late on Saturday, confirming the rescheduled calendar, with the new dates for the Ireland series set for January 12, 14 and 16.

The UAE camp received a body blow ahead of the beginning of the four-match series against Ireland when two of their players — vice-captain Chirag Suri and Aryan Lakra — tested positive for coronavirus on Friday.

However, the UAE raised their game to send out a major statement of intent when, in their first competitive match in 11 months, they defeated ICC Test playing Ireland by six wickets in Abu Dhabi, prior to the third positive test on Saturday.

The ECB statement added that the decision to reschedule Sunday’s match was made with the agreement of Cricket Ireland and Abu Dhabi Cricket, in the best interests of all parties involved.

Subhan Ahmed, ECB Adviser, said: “As part of our COVID-19 safety protocols for this series, all players were required to undergo and provide a negative COVID-19 test prior to entering the Bio-Bubble in Abu Dhabi.

“The tests that were carried out on December 29 were all negative. Players were then isolated in their separate rooms (in the team hotel) for three days. On January 7, Chirag Suri tested positive, followed by Aryan Lakra on January 8. Both Chirag and Aryan were isolated in their hotel rooms immediately after testing positive. As all remaining tests were negative, and after the tracing app data was reviewed, no further close contacts were traced.

“In accordance with the Authorities’ directives, the isolated players remained in their rooms until the Health Authorities coordinated their move to an official isolation Centre, where they remain.

“In the early hours of January 9, and following a seventh test carried out on January 8 on all players and staff in the UAE team bubble, Alishan Sharafu’s test also came back positive. Alishan is currently in isolation awaiting transfer by the Health Authorities to a medical isolation facility.

“Emirates Cricket Management, along with Abu Dhabi Cricket, and with the agreement of Cricket Ireland, have taken the decision that, in the best interests of all players and support staff involved with the Abu Dhabi ODI series, the second ODI against Ireland be rescheduled to January 16.”

Amended schedule

January 12, 2nd ODI
January 14, 3rd ODI
January 16, 4th ODI