USA vs IRE 2021 ODI Series: The ODI series between USA & Ireland has been called off due to COVID-19 concerns. Two members of Ireland’s support staff have tested positive for COVID-19 & two members of Ireland’s team were termed as their closed contacts.
Ireland who is slated to play a series against West Indies will leave from Florida to Kingston on December 31st. However, the two members of Ireland’s support staff who had tested positive for the virus will stay back in Florida to complete their isolation period.
The USA Cricket Board had budgeted around USD 350,000 for this tournament which is not a part of the ICC’s Future Tours program. As a strategic initiative, the board has exhausted its budget for the year 2022 to turn this series into a reality. According to the USA Cricket Officials the series was perceived by them as a perfect opportunity to have a full member nation tour USA while Ireland viewed it as an invaluable opportunity to acclimatize themselves with some cricket before embarking on the Caribbean shores. It is learned that USA’s expenditures soared close to USD 500,000.
The USA board has left no stones unturned to turn this series into a reality. However, they had to take a tough decision to call off the entire series just 48 hours before the commencement of the final ODI. It is worth noting that none of Ireland’s players have returned with positive results & just a couple of support staff & several partners of players have tested positive for COVID-19. On the other hand, the entire USA team had shared an indoor dressing room with a squad player who has tested positive for COVID-19 after the second T20I & was quarantined until they returned with negative results.
After returning with negative results the entire USA squad have practiced together for the remaining two ODIs within 48 hours. It is f=difficult to understand why the same rule to tackle COVID-19 wasn’t applied to the latest outbreak of COVID-19 within Ireland’s touring party. It would have been ideal if both the boards have waited a little longer to take a decision on the final ODI. They should have tested the squad on the morning of the fixture & then a final call on the Last ODI should have been taken. However here Ireland’s wish of not putting their ODI super league series against the West Indies in doubt by participating in a series that is marred by COVID-19 outbreaks couldn’t be ignored.
“The decision has been a difficult one to make, but clearly the right outcome from a player and staff health and safety perspective. While there are no positive Covid results amongst the Irish players, we have had two support staff test positive and a number of travel partners and family members also tested positive. This has meant two players within our playing ranks being deemed ‘close contacts’ and have been isolating while they are further tested and monitored,” Richard Holdsworth, Cricket Ireland’s High-Performance Director, said in a media release.
“From a broader perspective, consideration had to be given to the current series as well as the second leg of our tour. We need to be mindful of travel requirements for entering Jamaica and meeting Cricket West Indies Covid protocols. Over the coming days, we will prioritize the health and safety of our players and staff, and work with local officials in ensuring our people are well looked after – whether preparing to travel onward to Jamaica or having to remain in Florida a little longer in isolation.
“We would like to thank USA Cricket for hosting us and working so closely with Cricket Ireland and the ICC on the series. It is a real pity for the fans, staff, volunteers, and all those who have helped put this series on to see it end this way, but we see great potential in cricket in the USA and will certainly return during better times,” Holdsworth added.
Ireland was the first Full Member of the men’s team to tour the USA. They played two T20Is with the series ending 1-1. The first ODI was canceled due to COVID-19 concerns before the remainder of the series was called off.