Aus Tour of SA Postponed: A day after postponing the three-match Test series against South Africa, Cricket Australia’s (CA) Interim CEO, Nick Hockley on Wednesday said that the board did offer to play the series in Australia, but Cricket South Africa (CSA) declined the offer, citing other commitments.
Australia’s three-match Test tour of South Africa was postponed on Tuesday due to an ‘unacceptable’ coronavirus risk. The Australian board had said that traveling from Australia to South Africa at this current time would have had an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to the visiting players. “We’ve been doing an enormous amount of work with CSA and we have last night’s decision, so we’ll work through over the coming weeks and months when we may be able to reschedule the series. We did offer to host the series here, but CSA made that very clear that they have also got lots of other commitments and with quarantine periods and the like, that wasn’t feasible,” ESPNCricinfo quoted Hockley as saying.
“We didn’t explore neutral venues in too much detail, the question if you think about a neutral venue is where, and there are challenges in lots of different jurisdictions, so certainly we made the formal offer to host and CSA, which we respect entirely, made their position very clear and we’ve continued to work as hard as we can to try to make it happen. But we came to a point where people were starting to commit costs, people were starting to have to do pre-departure protocols and enter into biosecure environments in South Africa in preparation,” he added.
As the series between Australia and South Africa got postponed, the ICC on Tuesday confirmed that New Zealand has now become the first team to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC). India, Australia, and England are the other three teams that will be fighting it out to battle against the Kiwis in the summit clash.
Cricket Australia has also clarified that it would not be asking the ICC to delay the WTC final and as a result, the fate of Tim Paine’s side reaching the final depends on the upcoming four-match Test series between India and England.
“We have done everything we possibly can to make this tour happen and it’s a very difficult and challenging situation in South Africa just now and that’s what makes it even more heartbreaking that we’re not able to go. We all knew the rules going in and I think that’s what’s made this decision really, really hard. We’ve done everything we possibly can to make the tour go ahead but in the end, we had to listen to the overwhelming medical advice, so we won’t be pursuing that with the ICC, but it’s just another reason why not being able to tour is so disappointing,” said Hockley.
“I don’t think you can guarantee anything, that’s one thing we’ve learned. You certainly can’t guarantee how quickly things change. Thankfully for this home summer, there’s been community transmission at stages but the prevalence has been relatively low. It’s still been massively challenging to play the home summer. I can’t speak highly enough of the players, they’ve been away in biosecure bubbles, and if it comes that we qualify for the Test Championship that’s now out of our hands. It’s reliant on other results, then we’ll have to look at the situation at the time,” he added.
Australia was docked four points from their WTC points tally due to a slow over-rate during the Melbourne Test against India. If this wasn’t the case, Australia would have been levelled on percentage points with New Zealand.
“We’ve spoken to the players’ association at length, I’ve spoken to the coach…the players are disappointed, they want to play cricket, they want to appear in the World Test Championship, they want to play Test cricket, they want to get back on the horse after this recent India series. They’re very disappointed and we all went into this endeavour and all worked very hard to make this tour happen,” said Hockley