The Australian cricket team won’t be travelling to South Africa later this month for their Test series following a massive announcement on Tuesday night.
The Australian cricket team had been scheduled to travel to South Africa later on this month for a three match test cricket series. With the 19 player squad only being announced last week, it had looked as if everything was going ahead, however today’s announcement has brought preparations to an abrupt end. In many ways, it shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, but given that preparations had been allowed to resume, it had been widely assumed that the test series would go ahead - only with heighten protocols and precautions.
South Africa Smacked by Colossal Second Wave
The summer has seen South Africa hit massively by a second wave of Covid-19. Not only have case and death numbers soared throughout December and January, but a mutated varient of the virus has also been discovered. The new strain of the virus, now commonly referred to as “the South African Varient”, has shown to be much more easily transmissible than other virus strains the world has been dealing with previously. South Africa isn’t the only country battling mutant strains - mutations have also been spotted in the UK and Brazil since December, and are thought to have spread throughout the world.
A Blow to Australia’s World Test Championship Final Hopes
The cancellation of the test trip to South Africa has now damaged the Australian squad’s hopes of qualifying for the World Test Championship Final - all but quashed them in fact. Australia needed to win the three match test to have any chance of qualifying for the historic final, with their hopes now effectively dead in the water. Officially, the match has only been delayed, however given that the announcement was only made on Tuesday night, there is no projected alternative solution or provisional new date for the test series.
Australia’s final points tally has likely been heavily impacted by the their slow over rate during the Boxing Day test series against India. The outcome of who plays in the final will largely depend on the outcome of the England vs India series, which is still going ahead as planned. The postponement of the Australia vs South Africa series leaves Australia’s final hopes completely out of their hands, as they are now relaying on a mathematical miracle happening in India.
Postponement Due to “Unacceptable Risk”
The official reason for the postponement of the test series, was that travelling to South Africa would pose a risk to players that was described as “unacceptable” by Cricket Australia Interim CEO, Nick Hockley. In the official statement released on Tuesday night, Hockley said that the decision was made “following extensive due diligence with medical experts”.