Cricket Australia on Tuesday confirmed that the team’s tour to South Africa has been postponed indefinitely. Australia were due to visit South Africa for a three-match Test series starting March 3.
Australia‘s tour to South Africa was in limbo for some time now, as the country struggles with a new variant of COVID-19. News Corp had earlier disclosed that Cricket Australia had received key medical advice to not tour the country.
The same was announced by the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, with Cricket Australia’s interim CEO Nick Hockley confirming the development:
“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 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,”
— ICC (@ICC) February 2, 2021
Media reports had earlier explained how Cricket Australia was keen on touring South Africa to help the nation. While confirming the postponement, Nick Hockley also stopped short of mentioning a future date for the tour.
“We look forward to playing the series against CSA at a date to be confirmed in due course and we send CSA and the people of South Africa our very best wishes for a successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and a return to normality soon,” Hockley said.
— ICC (@ICC) January 29, 2021
The postponement also means that Australia face an uphill battle when it comes to making the final of the inaugural World Test Championship. They needed to beat South Africa to make it to the final at Lord’s.
However, the team now has to rely on fierce rivals England if they want to sneak into the finals. Australia will be knocked out if India wins two Tests and draws one of the remaining games against England at home.
The Aussies need England to beat India 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1 to qualify for the final.
Australia would already have qualified for the summit clash if not for the points penalty they incurred due to a slow over-rate in Melbourne.
It seems like David Boon’s decision to slap Australia with a four-point penalty will ultimately be the reason behind their absence from the World Test Championship final.