UAE and Oman fly home from Namibia as Omicron hits CWCL2 Tri-series

The UAE and Oman cricket teams will leave Windhoek early today due to concerns about the emergence of the Omicron strain of Coronavirus, as well as travel restrictions imposed by several countries on travellers from Southern Africa, forcing the postponement of the remaining CWC League 2 trilateral series between the two sides and hosts Namibia.

On Friday, the UAE declared that inbound flights from a number of Southern African nations would be suspended, as well as entry restrictions for travellers who had travelled through Namibia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Eswatini, Botswana, or Mozambique. Similar limitations enforced by the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union resulted in the cancellation of the ongoing Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe, as well as the postponing of the Netherlands’ CWC Super League series versus South Africa’s final two games.

The Omani and Emirati teams are expected to fly back on the same ICC-chartered airplane as the teams returning from Harare’s Women’s Qualifier. The Dutch are still in Pretoria, waiting to be repatriated to their homeland. The first of two additional matches intended to replace those that were postponed due to the death of Omani Sultan Qaboos bin Said in the fourth round of the championship over two years ago, saw Oman and Namibia share the spoils in the first two ODIs of the series earlier this week. The UAE has yet to play a match on their trip before this series, hence it was their final League 2 encounter.

Since the League began in August of 2019, just 7 of the 21 scheduled series have been played, and with fourteen trilateral series yet to be crammed in before the 2023 World Cup Qualifier, concerns are mounting that the League may not be able to be finished.