Australia has pulled out of three-Test match series against South Africa, previously scheduled for March, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With the series postponed, New Zealand has qualified for the final of the World Test Championship in June.
The series was due to start on March 5 and finish on March 25.
“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 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,” Nick Hockley, Cricket Australia’s interim CEO, said. The official account of Cricket Australia tweeted that
The Australian contingent was set to depart for South Africa at the end of this month but it poses an “unacceptable” risk to the players and support staff.
“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,” Hockley said in a statement.
“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,” he added.
“This decision has not been made lightly and we are 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,” he further stated.
The tour was originally scheduled for February and March, but the dates had yet to be confirmed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Proteas Test squad which is currently touring Pakistan will depart for South Africa after the final Test in Rawalpindi. The South African T20 squad is already en route to Pakistan and there are no plans for the squad to be changed, according to Cricket South Africa (CSA).
In December 2020, the ODI series between South Africa and England were also cancelled as certain members of the touring side tested positive for COVID-19.