As a precautionary measure against COVID-19 and ensuring the safety of its players and staff, Cricket Ireland declared the cancellation of the Test Triangle Inter-Provincial T20 match between Munster Reds and Northern Knights on Monday.
The decision came into effect after a player at the Northamptonshire County Cricket club went into self-isolation after testing positive for COVID-19. Three of the flatmates of the player who are also Irish international player Paul Stirling’s white-ball teammates also underwent the COVID-19 test. Two of the players tested negative while the report of the third player is still unknown.
Stirling, who is a player of the Northern Knights squad, had just returned to Belfast unaware of the news. So, in order to prevent putting the team in any sort of health risk, the board arrived at this decision.
Speaking on their call to abandon the match, High-Performance Director of Cricket Ireland, Richard Holdsworth said, “While highly unfortunate, we have taken a risk management approach to our decision. There is absolutely no suggestion that Paul [Stirling] has contracted the virus, but until all three tests of his Northants teammates have been returned, we don’t know conclusively whether the chain of transmission has been broken.“
He further added, “This is a case of a ‘close contact of a possible close contact’, but while Paul is somewhat removed from the player who tested positive, we left the decision on the game as late as possible to see whether Northants had received the test results of Paul’s teammates.“
“Paul wasn’t in the squad for tomorrow’s game but had been in contact with some Knights teammates over the weekend. Given the lengthy bus trip the Knights have to take for the match in Cork, they were heading down today and staying overnight in Cork. We delayed the bus departure time as long as we could hoping Northants would get the test result, but it didn’t come in time, so we reluctantly had to cancel the trip as a precaution,” the director said.
The board also cancelled the match between North West Warriors and Leinster Lightning at Bready owing to an unplayable outfield due to rain.