Wed, 20 Jan 2021

ABU DHABI, UAE - The remainder of the one-day international cricket series involving the UAE and Ireland is in doubt as the UAE team struggles to combat COVID-19 with four players from the home team now diagnosed with the virus.

Late Monday night the second one-day international was suspended following the diagnosis of the fourth player. It was the second time the match has been called off.

"Emirates Cricket Board has confirmed that Tuesday's match in the ODI Series 2021 against Ireland has been suspended," the board said in a statement published at 10.23pm on Monday night.

"This decision, supported by Cricket Ireland, was made after a new directive was received from authorities."

"This followed over 48 hours of self-isolation by the UAE team after four reported positive cases of Covid-19," the statement said.

"Additionally, the directive from the authorities requires the UAE team to remain in quarantine for an extended period of time."

"Discussions are continuing with all concerned parties, including the relevant authorities, regarding rescheduling of the remaining matches," the statement continued.

"A decision will be made and communicated once an agreement has been reached and approved."

The fixture had already been delayed by two days after Alishan Sharafu had become the third UAE player to test positive for Covid-19. The identity of the fourth case has not been revealed, according to a report in the UAE's national newspaper, The National, on Tuesday.

'Before a ball had been bowled in the series, Chirag Suri and Aryan Lakra had been put into isolation after testing positive for coronavirus,' journalist Paul Radley wrote in The National report.

'Vice-captain Suri had received his results on Thursday January 7, while newcomer Lakra received his early the following morning, which was the day of the opening fixture.'

'Although those two cases were announced in the hours before the first match, the game still went ahead, with the UAE going on to take their first ODI win against the Irish,' wrote Radley.

All players in the series are tested two days before each game.

No Irish player has been tested positive for the virus.

"While disappointing for players and fans alike, Cricket Ireland thanks the Emirates Cricket Board and Abu Dhabi Cricket for their transparency and cooperation at this time, and will continue to monitor the situation over coming days," Cricket Ireland said in a statement released late Monday night.

"As always, the health and safety of players and support staff will remain Cricket Ireland's priority."

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