Somerset cancel Abu Dhabi tour over coronavirus
PUBLISHED: 22:38 12 March 2020 | UPDATED: 22:38 12 March 2020
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Somerset County Cricket Club have taken the informed decision to cancel their planned pre-season tour to Abu Dhabi over coronavirus.
Players and staff were due to depart on Sunday for the tour, which consisted of warm weather training plus a number of different format matches against Essex and Worcestershire, before returning on March 29.
However, following significant discussions with several major stakeholders and considering the pace in which daily developments have evolved, the decision has been taken to withdraw from the proposed tour.
Director of Cricket Andy Hurry explained it wasn't a decision taken lightly, saying: 'We have been monitoring the situation on a daily basis over the last couple of weeks, ensuring that we didn't lose sight of the value and benefit that preparing for the season on grass overseas would give us.
'We have endeavoured to give ourselves as much time as possible to make this best-informed decision, allowing us to consider our position as more information has become available on a daily basis.
'Obviously, the health and wellbeing of our players, support staff and their families are of the highest importance.
'Although Abu Dhabi has appropriate protocols in place, the change of the national state from 'Contain' to 'Delay' coupled with the potential escalation of any isolation process for those returning to the UK have become key factors in the decision making process.
'Any imposed period of inactivity due to isolation of our players and staff would certainly adversely impact our pre-season preparation and potentially some early season fixtures.
'We have been considering contingency plans during this decision-making phase and we are now finalising these in order to give ourselves the optimum possible opportunity to be best prepared for the forthcoming season.
'We will update our Members and supporters with these details shortly.'