Australia’s Test tour of South Africa has been postponed due to the prevailing coronavirus pandemic, Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed on February 2 (Tuesday). Incidentally, South Africa is battling a second wave of COVID-19 and a new variant of the virus.
The Aussies were scheduled to play a three-match Test series later this month. However, CA’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley stated that traveling to the country will pose an unacceptable risk to the players. As a result, Australia’s journey to the final of the ICC World Test Championship gets harder.
Australia pull out of South Africa series
Cricket Australia also expressed their grief to Cricket South Africa (CSA) for failing to abide by the previously agreed schedule.
“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,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, speaking from the perspective of the ICC World Test Championship, Australia still have a slight chance of making it to the finals of the competition. If the forthcoming series between India and England is drawn or India win the series 1-0 or England wins 2-0, 2-1 then Australia progress through to the finals.
On the other hand, India have to win the series by at least 2-1 in order to qualify. For England to qualify the result should be 3-0, 3-1, or 4-0 to play the final at the Lord’s Cricket Stadium later this year. New Zealand have already booked a berth in the finals.
As per reports, the much-awaited final will commence on June 18.