If the first of the remaining two ODIs cannot be played on Wednesday, the series might be cancelled altogether
The second half of the limited-overs series between USA and Ireland is on thin ice after the first of the remaining two scheduled ODIs was postponed by another 24 hours from December 28 to 29, USA Cricket announced late on Monday night. ESPNcricinfo understands that the decision was made following multiple positive Covid-19 cases in both travelling parties.
If the first of the remaining two ODIs cannot be played on December 29 – all matches have been scheduled for Lauderhill – officials from both sides are expected to agree to pull the plug on the ODI series altogether rather than playing a standalone ODI, which was originally scheduled as the third and final match on December 30. The series cannot be pushed back beyond that date because Ireland’s travelling squad is due to fly out of Miami on December 31 to land in Jamaica for the start of their limited-overs series against West Indies.
The USA squad’s Covid-19 situation is somewhat more complex as multiple players have tested positive between training sessions held on December 26 and 27. But at least two of those are believed to be false positives after players returned negative tests upon submitting subsequent retested samples. Another round of tests is due to be taken on Tuesday, and if there are no more new positive tests, the series is expected to finally commence as a two-match affair on December 29 at 10am local time, with the final ODI slated for a 2pm local time start on December 30.
Though only one official tested positive, the rest of the officiating crew were deemed to be close contacts, and therefore, were made unavailable. No replacement officials meeting the ICC certification standard were able to be flown in at short notice. The three officials who did not test positive have continued to produce negative tests daily and are expected to officiate should the series be able to continue December 29, with the first of the remaining two ODIs.
Peter Della Penna is ESPNcricinfo’s USA correspondent @PeterDellaPenna