Australia’s upcoming Test match tour of South Africa has been postponed after Cricket Australia informed their counterparts they would not be travelling due to the ‘public health situation’ in South Africa.
A three-match Test tour was set to take place in March but due to the ‘second wave and new variant of the virus’, CA confirmed in a statement that the tour would have to be postponed.
With Australia currently third in the World Test Championship table after their dramatic series loss to India, the decision effectively ends their chances of competing in the inaugural final this summer – but removes one obstacle for Joe Root’s England side.
Australia’s upcoming Test match tour of South Africa has been postponed due to coronavirus
Three Tests were to be played in March but Cricket Australia have pulled the plug on the tour
‘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,’ said Cricket Australia interim CEO Nick Hockley, 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 World Test Championship.
‘However, we have been consistent since the start of this pandemic that the health and safety of our people is always our number one priority and unfortunately despite best efforts to agree to a biosecurity plan, the risks are simply too great at this time.
‘As difficult and disappointing a decision as this is, especially for Justin [Langer], Tim [Paine] and the team, we have a duty of care to our people and their health and safety can’t be compromised.
‘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.’
The news means England’s WTC chances are completely in their hands ahead of the India tour
Australia needed to beat South Africa to qualify for the inaugural World Test Championship final but they now have to rely on the specifics of England’s tour of India – which starts on Friday – to have any chance of sneaking into a showdown against New Zealand, expected to be at Lord’s in June.
Essentially, India only needs to win two Tests and draw one of the other two Tests against England to eliminate Australia, but Australia need England to be competitive, without winning by more than 2-0 themselves.
A 3-0 series win or better for Joe Root’s side mean they will qualify for the final on home soil this summer.
This post was first published on DailyMail.