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Australia tour of South Africa postponed



Australia's Test tour of South Africa scheduled to start later this month will not go ahead as scheduled because of health concerns, Cricket Australia confirmed on Tuesday evening.


The Aussies were scheduled to fly out for a three-Test series later this month but CA’s interim chief executive Nick Hockley said travelling to South Africa posed “unacceptable” risk to the touring party.


South Africa is battling a second wave of COVID-19 and a new variant of the virus.


“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.


“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.”


Australian selectors last week announced a squad of 19 for an expected three Test series that was set to be played in both Johannesberg and Centurion, with one of the venues set to host two of the Tests and the other one.


The series is set to be rescheduled for a later date, but the postponment almost certainly ends Australia's chances of playing in the final of the inaugural ICC Test Championship, set down for July this year at Lords Cricket Ground in the UK, Justin Langer's side with no more Tests scheduled before that final is set to be played.


Cricket Australia is expected to make further comment on the cancellation of the series on Wednesday.


IMAGE: Nine Wide World of Sports.