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Australia postpone tour of South Africa citing health concern

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Melbourne, Feb 2 (IANS) Australia’s tour of South Africa next has been postponed due to the ongoing situation with regards to the Covid-19 pandemic, Cricket Australia (CA) announced on Tuesday.

As a consequence of skipping the three-match Test series, Australia’s chances of qualifying for the ICC World Test Championship final, slated to take place at Lord’s, London, in June, has received a setback.

“Due to the public health situation in South Africa, which includes a second wave and a 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 community,” CA interim CEO Nick Hockley said in a statement on Tuesday.

“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,” he said.

If Australia don’t get a shot at playing the Proteas in the inaugural cycle of the WTC, New Zealand will secure their spot in the final. Sri Lanka just completed a two-Test tour to South Africa where the hosts beat the visitors 2-0 that ended earlier last month.

India, buoyed by their success in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, only need to win the Test series against England with a 2-0 margin to seal a spot in the WTC final.

If India lose one Test against England, they will need to win the other three matches of the series.

England, on the other hand, need to beat India 3-0. Even a 2-2 drawn series will not be enough for England to go past India and finish among the top two on the WTC points table.




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