Melbourne: Australia's cricket tour of South Africa for the three-match Test series has been postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Cricket Australia said on Tuesday.In a statement, Nick Hockley, the CA interim CEO, said the tour had been postponed due to the "unacceptable level of health and safety risk" in South Africa, which is battling a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
South Africa has recorded more than 1.45 million coronavirus cases and over 44,000 deaths. Since late last year, it has been battling a more transmissible variant of the virus."Due to the public health situation in South Africa, which includes a second wave and new variant of the virus, and following extensive due diligence with medical experts, it has become clear that traveling 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,'' he added.
As a consequence of skipping the three-match Test series, Australia's chances of qualifying for the final of the ICC World Test Championship has received a massive push back. If Australia don't play South Africa in the inaugural cycle of the WTC, New Zealand will secure their spot in the final.
After their loss to India in Brisbane, Australia sits third on 69.2 per cent of total points contested, with the Black Caps second on 70 per cent and India leading on 71.7.New Zealand’s WTC schedule is over and they can’t slip below 70 per cent, but India can if they suffer defeats to England in the upcoming four-Test series starting February 5.