Cricket Australia has confirmed it has decided to postpone the forthcoming tour of South Africa due to concerns over the coronavirus pandemic.
The two countries were due to contest a three-match Test series, starting at the end of February. Cricket Australia interim CEO Nick Hockley says it is too big of a risk for Australia to travel to South Africa under the current cloud of concern.
South Africa has been battling a second Covid-19 wave in recent months, although restrictions were eased on Monday evening by president Cyril Ramaphosa.
‘Following extensive due diligence with medical experts, it has become clear that travelling 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.
‘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.’
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
The postponement means the Proteas’ international summer season could soon end, although Pakistan are also set to tour South Africa in a limited-overs series by April.
Australia, on the other hand, were dealt a massive blow of reaching the World Test Championship final in the process. They will now need to rely on other results in order to book their place alongside New Zealand.
‘As difficult and disappointing a decision as this is, especially for Justin [Langer], Tim and the team, we have a duty of care to our people and their health and safety can’t be compromised,’ Hockley added.
Cricket South Africa is expected to respond soon with a statement of its own.