Another controversy is brewing in the world of cricket, with Cricket Australia announcing a last-minute cancellation of their upcoming tour against South Africa early on February 2. The Australia vs South Africa series has been in the works for some time now, with captain Tim Paine talking about it during the series against India in January. This sudden reversal is earning Cricket Australia the ire of fans, players and Cricket South Africa alike. CA's lengthy announcement, detailing the reasons behind this decision, has also received much flak and is being called out for being hypocritical and against the spirit of equality among cricket playing nations.
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. Full statement 👇 pic.twitter.com/mYjqNpkYjp— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) February 2, 2021
The domination of India, Australia and England - the Big 3 of the ICC - in the cricket world has received much attention over the past few years. Allegations on the countries have ranged from unfairness in allocating ICC tournaments to members to snubbing smaller countries for bilateral series. This topic has taken on even more importance now most of all, with the less fortunate members of the ICC struggling to sustain themselves through the pandemic.
One of the first series held outside of the three countries, England's tour of South Africa ended rather poorly, with the visitors pulling out of the series halfway through after COVID-19 cases swept across both teams. Since then, CSA have successfully hosted the Sri Lankan cricket team as well as conducted their domestic season in a bio-bubble. CA's reasoning then, that they did not feel confident enough to travel to the country due to the spread of the virus and its new variant, has been called out by several people, including former England cricketer, Kevin Pietersen.
No way @CricketAus would have not played India in a Test tour.— Kevin Pietersen🦏 (@KP24) February 3, 2021
It’s a really dark time in the world of cricket with CA cancelling their tour of @OfficialCSA. @englandcricket also pulled out of SA due to Covid issues, but players test positive in SL and tour goes on?!
In an angry tweet, that echoes the feelings of Cricket South Africa, the SA-born batsmen questioned whether the Australians would have taken a similar decision if the tour in question had been against a richer board, like the BCCI. He also called out the ECB for their hypocrisy in handling the COVID3-19 situation in SA (where they pulled out of the tournament) and pointed out how different it was from their reaction to all-rounder Moeen Ali testing positive for the virus in Sri Lanka (where they did not leave the series midway).
ANNOUNCEMENT: Cricket South Africa was informed by Cricket Australia that their scheduled tour to SA will not be going ahead due to Covid-19 fears.— Cricket South Africa (@OfficialCSA) February 2, 2021
“We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA,” Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, stated. 🗣 pic.twitter.com/NW0ZfyMFbT
CSA have also responded to the move harshly, with CSA Director Graeme Smith revealing that the board has already spent a considerable amount of money in trying to implement all of CA's demands for the tour. These demands included separate hotels for both teams, quarantine periods and bio-bubbles for the hotel staff and an alteration of South Africa's current tour of Pakistan - rules far beyond any series held until now. Australia's decision will also affect their ICC World Test Championship standings, making it almost impossible for the side to make it to the finals this summer.
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