Picture for representation
Picture for representation

Australia on Tuesday pulled out of South Africa tour due to the raging COVID-19 pandemic in the rainbow nation.

"Today we informed Cricket South Africa that we believe we have no choice but to postpone the forthcoming Qantas Tour of South Africa due to the coronavirus pandemic," Cricket Australia said.

"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," the Australian cricket board said in a statement.

South Africa has been recording nearly 5,000 new cases a day and is battling a variant of the coronavir that spreads more easily.

"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," the statement issued by Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia Interim CEO, said.

He said that the decision has not been made lightly and the board was 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."

"However, we have been consistent since the start of the 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," it added.

"As difficult and disappointing a decision as this is, especially for Justin, Tim and the team, we have a duty of care to our people and their health and safety can't be compromised," Hockley further said.

"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," he added.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in