Cricket SA have bemoaned the decision by their Australian counterparts to postpone a scheduled three-match Test series against the Proteas in March and April.
Cricket SA’s acting CEO Pholetsi Moseki said rearranging the lucrative tour will have severe implications for the organisation’s finances.
“It is indeed sad that after all the engagements and effort made to ensure a secure visit by our Australian counterparts‚ the tour has been derailed‚” said Moseki‚ who appeared to suggest the tour has been cancelled and not postponed.
“Cricket SA have incurred significant costs related to the planning stages and the cancellation of the tour represents a serious financial loss.”
Cricket SA have a financial model that works on a four-year cycle in which a lot of money is made off tours of India‚ Australia and England‚ and less when other nations visit.
They would have generated a much-needed cash injection from broadcasting revenue even in the absence of spectators at stadiums due to Covid-19 regulations.
Cricket SA director of cricket Graeme Smith said the last-minute decision by the Australians has left him frustrated.
Smith said Cricket SA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that all the expectations of the Australian touring party are satisfied.
“So to be informed about the Cricket Australia decision at the 11th hour is frustrating‚” said the former captain.
Cricket SA’s chief medical officer Shuaib Manjra added that the organisation made every effort to placate the Australians. He said Cricket SA had even committed to importing an Australian tracking system “at great cost to ensure proper tracking of close contacts in the event of a positive test”.
Manjra spelt out in great detail how Cricket SA had bent over backwards while trying to meet the Australians’ demands.
“The protocols we had proposed to Cricket Australia were unprecedented. Firstly‚ we had agreed that our own Proteas team would enter the BSE (bio-secure environment) 14 days before the arrival of the Australian team‚ thus altering their planning during the current tour of Pakistan.
“Among some of the other arrangements made were that all four areas [two hotels and two venues] had a protocol to implement a strict BSE with no contact with anybody outside this area. We subsequently agreed to two separate BSEs and had granted Australia full and exclusive use of the Irene Country Lodge‚ which we shared with Sri Lanka‚ with a minimum staff present on site.
“In terms of the arrangements‚ the Proteas were to move to a separate hotel altogether. Furthermore‚ all hotel staff‚ match officials and even bus drivers were to enter the BSE before Australia’s arrival.
“The touring team was also going to be granted VIP access through the airports‚ after government intervention to ensure 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.”
Cricket SA would be particularly disappointed given that they recently hosted Sri Lanka in a bio-secure environment in Centurion with no glitches reported.
Apart from the Sri Lanka tour‚ Cricket SA successfully organised the domestic Momentum One-Day Cup in a bio-secure environment in Potchefstroom and no positive cases have been reported.
Cricket Australia interim CEO Nick Hockley said the decision was not taken lightly.
“Due to the public health situation in SA‚ which includes a second wave and a new variant of the virus‚ and after extensive due diligence with medical experts‚ it has become clear that travelling from Australia to SA at this time poses an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to our players‚ support staff and the community‚” said Hockley.
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