Melbourne, Feb 3 (IANS) A day after postponing the proposed three-match Test series against South Africa in March, Cricket Australia’s interim CEO Nick Hockley has confirmed that an offer was made to host the Proteas for the Test series but Cricket South Africa declined, citing other commitments.
On Tuesday, CSA expressed disappointment after Cricket Australia postponed their next month’s tour of that country despite the hosts making exclusive arrangements for the series.
“We’ve been doing an enormous amount of work with CSA and we have last night’s decision, so we’ll work through over the coming weeks and months when we may be able to reschedule the series. We did offer to host the series here, but CSA made that very clear that they have also got lots of other commitments and with quarantine periods and the like, that wasn’t feasible,” ESPNcricinfo quoted Hockley as saying.
“We didn’t explore neutral venues in too much detail, the question if you think about a neutral venue is where, and there are challenges in lots of different jurisdictions, so certainly we made the formal offer to host and CSA, which we respect entirely, made their position very clear and we’ve continued to work as hard as we can to try to make it happen. But we came to a point where people were starting to commit costs, people were starting to have to do pre-departure protocols and enter into bio-secure environments in South Africa in preparation,” he added.
He said that Cricket Australia tried everything but the “residual risk” didn’t allow them to make any other decision.
“I think we gave ourselves every shot, we couldn’t have left it any later, but in the end that residual risk, the implications if we did get a positive, the chances of getting a positive, meant we really didn’t have any other decision,” said Hockley.
In a statement on Tuesday, former South Africa captain Graeme Smith and current CSA Director of Cricket said that Cricket Australia’s decision was frustrating.
“We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA. CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA,” he said.
“This was set to be the longest tour in a BSE comprising a three-match Test series that was scheduled to begin with Australia’s arrival later in the month. So to be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating,” he added.
The postponement of the series means New Zealand became the first team to seal a spot in the World Test Championship (WTC) final slated to be played in June this year at Lord’s, London. For Australia to qualify, they will now depend on the result of the four-match Test series between India and England which gets underway from Friday in Chennai.