England training at Newlands

Three South Africa players are in isolation after one tested positive for Covid before joining England in their bio-secure bubble in Cape Town.

The unnamed player and two close associates in the squad were all asymptomatic but the outbreak is a worry as England prepare for their first cricket of the winter and South Africa hosts bio-secure cricket for the first time. The first T20 against South Africa starts next week.

The three players have not been replaced in the South Africa squad but doctors will monitor their progress before they are retested and allowed to join up with their team-mates. 

Cricket South Africa said: "One player has returned a positive test result and two players were considered close contacts based on the risk assessment undertaken by the medical team. All three players have been placed in immediate isolation in Cape Town as part of the COVID-19 protocols. While all players are asymptomatic, CSA’s medical team will monitor them to ensure their health and well-being.

"At this stage, none of these players will be replaced for the tour, but two replacement players will be included into the squad for the purposes of the inter-squad practice matches that will be played."

A spokesman for the England team confirmed that 50 tests were carried out on their players and all returned negative. 

The England players trained for the first time in Cape Town on Wednesday after arriving in South Africa on Tuesday and Moeen Ali spoke openly and honestly about his fight to rediscover his form as he prepares for the final few years of his career. Moeen accepts he “doesn’t have that much time left” for England at the age of 33 and is determined to fight for his place, even setting his sights on a return to Test cricket. 

“I know I haven’t got that long left in international cricket, depending on fitness and form, but I’ll try my best to do as much as I can to get to the level I want to get to,” he said.

“It’s frustrating and it’s more of a mental thing. That hunger has not been there in the last year or so. I know deep down I haven’t done well over a period of time. I’ve had enough of a break from Test cricket. I can give my all in the next couple of years to try to be part of this. There’s so much cricket and so much success to have. There’s an opportunity there to be one of the greatest sides ever and be part of that. That’s something I want to do.”