Sport

Australia Postpones South Africa Trip Due to Pandemic

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Australian men's cricket team | AP

"Following extensive due diligence with medical experts, it has become clear that travelling 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", Hockley said in a statement.

"CSA had also committed to importing an Australian tracking system at great cost to ensure proper tracking of close contacts in the event of a positive test", said Dr Manjra. However, now Australia's chances stand slim given India's impeccable record at home, where they will host England for a four-Test series starting from February 5.

He said he had received a call from Australia earlier on Tuesday expressing fears over COVID-19.

CA interim chief executive Nick Hockley outlined the reasons for the decision, saying the risk was "unacceptable".

South Africa's Covid-19 cases have plummeted by more than 50% in the past week and by March, when Australia were due to tour, most frontline workers would have been vaccinated.

Director of Cricket Graeme Smith said that they were "extremely disappointed" with the Australian's decision to postpone the upcoming Test series with the Proteas due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand, on Tuesday, became the first side to qualify for the World Test Championship final, to be held at Lord's later this year.

"As hard and disappointing a decision as this is, especially for Justin [Langer, the Australia head coach], Tim [Paine, their captain] and the team, we have a duty of care to our people and their health and safety can't be compromised".

The final of ICC World Test Championship was originally scheduled to be played at the Lord's from June 10 but according to reports, it will now be played between June 18-22 at the same venue with a reserve day booked as well.

Despite being the host nation, South Africa had agreed to enter into a bio-secure bubble for 14 days in the lead-up to Australia's arrival, while also granting the tourists full and exclusive use of a hotel where all staff, match officials and bus drivers were also required to undergo a 14-day quarantine period.

The country recently hosted Sri Lanka for two Tests and their side are now touring Pakistan.

Connellan said the player body would work with CA and CSA in "exploring new options for this series to be rescheduled". "Currently, the Pakistan Women's team are touring the country in a secure BSE in Durban", it added.

If India and England play out a draw, Australia are in the final and if England win 1-0, 2-0 or 2-1, Australia will make it to the summit clash.

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