CSA 'disappointed' by postponement of Australia tour

Australia were set to play a three-match Test series once the Proteas had returned from their ongoing series in Pakistan.

FILE: CSA's director of cricket Graeme Smith. Picture: @GraemeSmith49/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - Cricket South Africa on Tuesday said that it was "disappointed" and "frustrated" by Cricket Australia (CA)’s decision to postpone the tour, which was set to begin later this month.

Australia were set to play a three-match Test series once the Proteas had returned from their ongoing series in Pakistan.

Cricket Australia interim chief Nick Hockley said travelling to South Africa at this time posed an "unacceptable" risk to the players and their health.

“CSA wishes to record its immense disappointment at the news. The safety of players is always paramount and over the past few months, CSA held many detailed discussions with CA regarding COVID-19 protocols. These discussions included assessing and managing the COVID-19 risks and consulting with a range of leading medical experts including the SA Ministerial COVID Advisory Committee. CSA worked hard to meet the changing demands of our Australian counterparts”, CSA said in a statement on Tuesday.

CSA also alluded to the fact that President Cyril Ramaphosa announced an easing of lockdown restrictions on Monday in response to the 75% reduction in new COVID-19 infections since the peak of the second wave in December 2020, and mentioned that “South Africa recently hosted Sri Lanka in a bio-secure environment (BSE) at Centurion, with no breaches of protocol. Currently the Pakistan Women’s team are touring the country in a secure BSE in Durban”.

“We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA,” director of cricket Graeme Smith stated.

“CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA. This was set to be the longest tour in a BSE 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.”

CSA’s chief medical officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, added that there was not much more CSA could have done to appease CA and prepared more appropriately.

“The protocols we had proposed to CA were unprecedented,” he stated. “Firstly, we had agreed that our own Proteas team would enter the BSE 14 days prior to the arrival of the Australian team, thus altering their planning during the current tour of Pakistan. Amongst some of the other key arrangements made were that all four areas (two hotels and two venues) had a protocol to implement a strict BSE with no contact with anybody outside this area. We subsequently agreed to two separate BSEs and had granted Australia full and exclusive use of the Irene Country Lodge, which we shared with Sri Lanka, with a minimum staff present on site,” he said.

Hockley stated that the two governing bodies would engage with each other to find a later date to play the series.

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