The decision of Cricket Australia to postpone their tour to South Africa was met with extreme disappointment by the Cricket South Africa interim board, says chairman Stavros Nicolaou.
Nicolaou and other members of the board addressed the media on Friday, alongside sports minister Nathi Mthethwa, to discuss various related matters.
One of them was the disappointment and anger felt by CSA to Cricket Australia’s indication that they will not travel to South Africa for a three-match Test tour in March.
‘This really confused us because the day we received the letter, South Africa was on a very significant downward trajectory of the pandemic,’ Nicolaou said.
‘We also don’t agree that there is a more virulent strain. We know there is a more contagious strain but it is not more virulent. It is a unilateral decision. Our preference would be to pick up the phone, set up a call and go through the various details.’
The chairman continued that CSA made a lot of alternative arrangements, more than for the Sri Lanka and Pakistan Women’s tours, to accommodate the Australians in the safest bio-bubble yet.
Minister Mthethwa assisted in helping CSA create such an environment with special hospital help lined up to attend to any Australian player or staff member, who might have contracted the coronavirus, while in South Africa.
This led to CSA formally lodging a complaint with the ICC earlier this week in order to seek financial compensation for the cancellation of the tour, which costed CSA a lot of money.
‘We don’t know what the prospects of success are because there are provisions in the rules that relate to Covid for postponements to take place.
‘But that’s not the main issue. One needs to assess what these cancellations and postponements mean to the smaller nations or the poorer nations with less resources. I think there is a recalibration that needs to take place in cricket,’ Nicolaou added.
Earlier this week CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith also expressed his concerns with the ICC leadership and their failure to deal with contemporary issues in light of the pandemic.
‘The game needs leadership right now. It needs understanding complexities. I don’t think world cricket wants three nations competing against each other in ten years’ time. How does that benefit the game? It doesn’t. That will then amplify the leagues and leagues will then just get bigger and bigger. The rest of the member nations will then have little to no content,’ Smith said.