Cancelled tour tension intensified as CSA seeks ICC’s involvement over CA’s “lack of sportsmanship”

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Earlier this week, the International Cricket Council (ICC) has received a letter from Cricket South Africa (CSA) accusing Cricket Australia (CA) of acting “against the spirit of sportsmanship” as tensions over the last-minute abandoned tour intensified. Last week, CA called-off three-Test tour of South Africa that was slated to start in March, citing medical concerns.

CSA wrote to the ICC seeking intervention over the abandoned cricket matches. The letter also raises concerns that this decision by Australia will have a serious impact on the financial well-being of less-wealthy ICC members. The ICC has confirmed it received the letter, which is not a formal complaint, but an open communication regarding holding international cricket in the wake of pandemic.

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CSA’s letter to CA was also said to be pointed, highlighting it “cannot over- emphasise the loss of revenue caused by your unfortunate decision as well as the reputational damage that is certain to follow”. “The cancellation of our tour sends a hurtful message to the less-wealthy cricket-playing nations of the world,” CSA wrote. CSA and CA have not discussed an alternative date for the series.

Earlier, CA insists that it was committed to the tour. However, the governing body’s chief executive Nick Hockley noted, there was simply an unacceptable level of risk to players, support staff and the community. The Australian board also said that travelling from Australia to South Africa at this current time would have had an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to the visiting players.

“We have done everything we possibly can to make this tour happen and it’s a very difficult and challenging situation in South Africa just now and that’s what makes it even more heartbreaking that we’re not able to go,” Hockley said in an interview. “We’ve done everything we possibly can to make the tour go ahead but in the end, we had to listen to the overwhelming medical advice.”

CA also pointed out that while CSA said the Sri Lanka tour went without incident, the Sri Lanka Cricket Board had a different story on how the two-Test tour unfolded. That series had matches split between Johannesburg and Centurion – the same venues the Australians would have played at. CA said CSA had been unable to meet a January 22 deadline.

With the Australia and South Africa series postponed, the ICC confirmed that New Zealand has now become the first team to qualify for the finals of the World Test Championship (WTC), while India, Australia, and England are the other three teams that will be fighting it out to battle against New Zealand in the summit clash.

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