PAK vs SA: With COVID-19 restrictions limiting international travel options from South Africa, CSA now has a major logistical and cost problem if the scheduled three-match T20 series against Pakistan go ahead as planned, starting from February 11.
It had been expected that an almost completely different squad would play the shortest format, with the Test squad returning to home to prepare for a planned series against Australia.
But how did CSA land in such a difficult situation?
South Africa’s Test team had to fly to Pakistan in a last-minute arranged charter flight after their commercial flights were cancelled. The 21-member squad and support staff landed in Karachi on Saturday for a two-Test series against Pakistan, starting on January 26.
A SA spokesperson told AFP that Cricket South Africa had to make arrangements hastily after being informed on Thursday that Emirates Airlines had temporarily suspended to and from South Africa for “operational reasons”.
The touring party was scheduled to travel in groups to Dubai from Johannesburg, Cape Town and Durban before travelling to Karachi.
CSA were able organize a charter flight to enable the team to depart on Friday night, flying directly to Karachi. However, arranging another charter flight would be a challenge for them under the current situation.
The Test series in Pakistan is due to end on February 8 with the T20 internationals scheduled on February 11-14.
The home Test series against Australia, which has not yet been confirmed, is likely to start in early March, two weeks later than originally planned.
But a CSA source told AFP that Covid-19 protocols would make it necessary for the South African Test squad to return home immediately after the second Test in Pakistan.
(The report was originally reported by AFP)