Karachi: Australia’s Test tour of South Africa has been postponed due to health concerns regarding COVID-19 pandemic, Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed today.
The Aussies were scheduled to travel to South Africa later this month for a three-Test series, part of the ICC World Test Championship.
Today we informed Cricket South Africa that we believe we have no choice but to postpone the forthcoming Qantas Tour of South Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic. Full statement 👇 pic.twitter.com/mYjqNpkYjp
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) February 2, 2021
According to CA’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley, traveling to South Africa presents ‘unacceptable’ risk to the Aussies.
“Following extensive due diligence with medical experts, it has become clear that traveling from Australia to South Africa at this current time poses an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to our players, support staff and the community,” Hockley said in a statement.
“We acknowledge the significant amount of work by CSA in planning for the tour, during which we made it clear that CA was prepared to take on additional cost and effort to make the series happen,” he added.
“This decision has not been made lightly and we are extremely disappointed, especially given the importance of continuing international cricket at this time, our valued relationship with CSA, and our aspirations to compete in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship,” he maintained.
CSA Director Graeme Smith has expressed disappointment as they were working really hard behind the scenes to organize this series.
“We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA. CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA,” Smith said.
“This was set to be the longest tour in a Bio-secure environment comprising a three-match Test series that was scheduled to begin with Australia’s arrival later in the month. So to be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating.” Smith added.
It must be noted that this series was important for Australia to remain in contention to reach the final of the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.
New Zealand will qualifiy for the final if the series doesn’t take place before the ICC WTC’s final, scheduled in June 2021.
New Zealand’s opponent will be India or England who are scheduled to compete in four-match Test series from February 5.