South Africa’s director of cricket Graeme Smith vented his frustration on Tuesday at Australia’s resolution to withdraw from subsequent month’s Test tour of the nation as a result of rampant unfold of the coronavirus. Former Test captain Smith stated Cricket South Africa had “bent over backwards” to fulfill Australia’s calls for, just for their opponents to scrap the tour citing an “unacceptable risk”. He stated he had acquired a name from Australia earlier on Tuesday expressing fears over Covid-19.
“We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA (Cricket Australia)… To be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating,” stated Smith.
“The amount of work that’s gone in over the past few weeks in getting this tour under way has been immense.
“We’ve finished every thing potential to get the tour beneath means however there may be that side of not with the ability to clear up among the fears Australia had.”
Australia’s withdrawal comes 12 days after then-interim board chairman, Zak Yacoob, said he was confident the tour would go ahead, although he cautioned that the unpredictability of the virus could cause plans to change.
At the time, South Africa was at the peak of a second wave of infections with new cases being reported at a rate of more than 10,000 a day.
Despite the emergence of a new variant, reported to be more infectious than the original virus, the rate of infections has slowed to around 5000 a day.
Some of the country’s tougher lockdown restrictions were eased by the government on Monday.
“Gone the additional mile”
In addition to Smith’s comments, CSA issued a statement in which it said every effort had been made to meet Australia’s “altering calls for”, pointing out that a Test series against Sri Lanka and a current tour by the Pakistan women’s team had been conducted without any problems.
It had originally been planned that both the South African and Australian teams would stay in a bio-secure environment at a country club situated between the Test venues in Johannesburg and Centurion, as was the case when Sri Lanka toured in December and January.
But CSA medical officer Shuaib Manjra said it had been arranged that Australia would have exclusive use of the country club, with the South Africans staying in a separate facility.
CSA had also agreed that the country’s Test squad would enter a bio-secure facility 14 days before the Australians arrived.
To make this possible, the Test players currently in Pakistan are returning to South Africa immediately after the end of the second Test next Monday. What is largely a second-string team will play a Twenty20 series in Pakistan.
“CSA had additionally dedicated to importing an Australian monitoring system at nice price to make sure correct monitoring of shut contacts within the occasion of a optimistic check,” stated Dr Manjra.
“The touring crew was additionally going to be granted VIP entry by the airports, after authorities intervention to make sure this privilege.
“These are just some of the protocols that CSA was to put in place. We had really gone the extra mile to make sure that the tour would proceed.”
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