Australia confused its facts when it took a “unilateral” decision to cancel a cricket tour in South Africa because of COVID-19, the acting president said on Friday. head of the board of South Africa.
Stavros Nikolaou said Cricket South Africa was left “puzzled” by Cricket Australia’s decision two weeks ago not to travel for a series of three tests next month. At the time, Australians said South Africa was at the “top” of a second wave of coronavirus infections and had a “more virulent strain” of the virus.
Both points are incorrect, Cricket South Africa Interim Council Chairman Nicolau said during a conference call with reporters.
“We were very confused by this statement and are still unpacking this statement with our Australian colleagues,” Nicolau said. “We definitely don’t agree.”
Although the second wave of viral infections in South Africa peaked in January, it subsided significantly when Australia announced it was canceling on February 2, Nicolau said. He said Australia had not given South Africa a chance to clarify the local situation before making a “unilateral decision”.
His analysis was supported by the fact that South African President Kiril Ramaphosa announced easing of some lock restrictions a day earlier on February 1st due to a significant reduction in new cases of COVID-19 in the country. Since then, new cases have continued to decline and Australians did not have to fly until the end of this month.
There is also no evidence that the variant, first identified in South Africa in December, causes more serious illness, according to health experts, although it may be more contagious. Nicolau said Australia suggests the option is more harmful.
“We do not agree that there is a more virulent strain (in South Africa). More contagious, not more virulent,” Nicolau said.
South Africa has publicly stated how bitterly disappointed it is with Australia’s decision, which came even after South Africa agreed to introduce much more extensive bio-bubble preparations for the Australian team to meet their demands.
This included giving Australia exclusive access to the hotel, which both teams originally planned to share for the series, and forcing hotel staff to quarantine for a much longer time before Australians arrived in South Africa, South African media reported. The additional plans cost Cricket South Africa a lot.
Some of Nicolau’s comments on Friday also reflect current sentiment in international cricket that the three richest countries in the sport – India, Britain and Australia – could take advantage of pandemic fears to avoid touring lower-profile countries. This frees them up for money circulating between them.
South Africa is still disappointed with Britain’s decision to end the limited tour in the country after hotel officials tested positive for coronavirus in the bio-balloon, and Britain raised concerns that two of its tour members had been infected. . These two English positive results turned out to be false positives, but England still left half of the tour.
Although it then raised concerns about COVID, England has since embarked on a big-ticket test tour of India, which has more than 10 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, the second highest in the world after the United States.
“One has to evaluate these cancellations and delays,” Nicolau said. “What does this mean for smaller nations, poorer nations or those with fewer resources. And I think in that regard, cricket calibration needs to be done.”
Nicolau said South Africa has filed a formal complaint with the International Cricket Council over Australia’s cancellation, although it is unclear what the governing body can do when a country cites player safety for its decision.