Cricket Australia denied all the rumors that it was only interested in lucrative series against India & England after scrapping next month’s test tour to South Africa over coronavirus fears.
The withdrawal resulted in a negative response from Cricket South Africa which expressed frustration at the “eleventh hour” decision despite of extensive work to establish bio-secure bubbles for the tourists. CA Interim chief executive Nick Hockley described the withdrawal of the tour as “heartbreaking” & emphasized the point that the current COVID-19 situation in South Africa gave the Australians no choice.
“We share their disappointment, we’ve all worked to make this tour happen,” he told reporters.
“At the end of the day, the weight of medical advice and our duty of care to players and staff meant we were really left with no alternative.”
South Africa is the worst hit country on the continent with 1.5 million detected infections & more than 44,000 fatalities. Hockley said that CA offered to host the series in Australia, where the virus is under control but the scheduling clashes & the need yo quarantine together made it impossible for the South Africans to tour Australia. H ehoped that three match series could be rescheduled but said that no arrangements had been made yet. Australia has also withdrawn the series against West Indies, Zimbabwe, Afghanistan and New Zealand since the pandemic hit.
Yet Australia hosted a money making series against India & travelled to England for limited overs matches with England’s squad scheduled to travel to Australia later this year for the marquee Ashes series.
CA Chief Hockley denied that financial considerations had been a factor in Australia’s scheduling decisions during the pandemic. “I’d refute that in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
“We have done absolutely everything we possibly can to make this tour happen. It’s a very difficult situation in South Africa just now, that’s what makes it even more heartbreaking that we are not able to go. “We would love to go but the medical advice says it’s not safe to do so. We want to play cricket, we want to support world cricket.”