In a major escalation, Cricket South Africa has lodged an official complaint with the International Cricket Council (ICC) over Cricket Australia’s 11th-hour postponement of their Test tour to the rainbow nation.
The Australian Men’s Cricket Team was scheduled to travel to South Africa for a three-match Test series in March. The national selectors had even announced the squad for the Test series. However, Cricket Australia pulled out of the tour at the last moment citing ‘unacceptable’ health risk in the rainbow nation, where there is a new strain of Covid proliferating in the community.
Cricket South Africa wants the apex cricketing body to hear the matter to ascertain whether CA breached agreements in place for ICC World Test Championship and Future Tour Program (FTP).
If found guilty, Cricket Australia can be subjected to a fine of at least $2 million but there is an acceptable non-compliance clause for CA.
Cricket Australia chairman Earl Eddings, in a mail leaked by the South African press, has said that the board is willing to pay ‘out of pocket’ compensation for pulling the plug on the tour at the last moment but that is only a fraction of TV revenue that Cricket South Africa stands to lose.
Cricket South Africa wants independent health experts to investigate the veracity of the Covid concerns cited by CA. And, it wants those experts to be from South Africa.
“It would seem inappropriate to appoint a health and safety consultant outside of South Africa given that such an expert would be unlikely to properly and accurately comprehend the COVID-10 related risks within South Africa and how they may be adequately managed,” acting CSA chief Pholetski Moseki wrote in a letter quoted by CricInfo.
“Given the nature of the pandemic, it will inevitably require location-specific advice” the letter added.
Cricket Australia, meanwhile, wants to play the series at a later date. However, given the fact that the international calendar is packed, CSA is not really sure as to whether it can insert the series in the near future.
Both sides have a window between June-September, however, that would mean playing the games at the Highveld, where temperatures can drop down to the freezing point at night. It is still possible though, given the fact South Africa hosted New Zealand in a Test series in the month of August back in 2016.