Australia tour about-turn will have dire financial consequences‚ says Cricket SA
Cricket SA (CSA) has bemoaned the decision by its Australian counterparts to postpone a scheduled three-match Test series against the Proteas in March and April.
CSA's acting CEO, Pholetsi Moseki, said the rearrangement of the lucrative tour will have severe implications for the organisation’s finances.
“It is indeed sad that after all the engagements and effort made to ensure a secure visit by our Australian counterparts‚ the tour has been derailed‚” said Moseki‚ who appeared to suggest that the tour has been cancelled as opposed to postponed.
“CSA have incurred significant costs related to the planning stages and the cancellation of the tour represents a serious financial loss.”
CSA has a financial model that works on a four-year cycle where a lot of money is made from tours of India‚ Australia and England‚ and less when smaller nations visit.
Cricket would have generated much-needed cash from broadcasting revenue even in the absence of spectators at the stadiums.
CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith said the last-minute decision by the Australians has left him frustrated. Smith said CSA had been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that all the expectations from the Australian touring party were met.
“So to be informed about the Cricket Australia decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating‚” said the former captain.
CSA’s chief medical officer‚ Dr Shuaib Manjra‚ added that the organisation had made every effort to soothe the Australians. He said CSA had even committed to importing an Australian tracking system “at great cost to ensure proper tracking of close contacts in the event of a positive Covid-19 test”.
Dr Manjra explained in great detail how CSA had to bend over backwards to meet the Australians’ demands.
“The protocols we had proposed to Cricket Australia were unprecedented.
“First‚ we had agreed that our own Proteas team would enter the BSE 14 days before the arrival of the Australian team‚ thus altering their planning during the current tour of Pakistan.
“Among some of the other key arrangements made were that all four areas (two hotels and two venues) had a protocol to implement a strict BSE with no contact with anybody outside this area.
“We subsequently agreed to two separate BSEs and had granted Australia full and exclusive use of the Irene Country Lodge‚ which we shared with Sri Lanka‚ with a minimum staff present on site.
“In terms of the arrangements‚ the Proteas were to move to a separate hotel altogether. Furthermore‚ all hotel staff‚ match officials and even bus drivers were to enter the BSE 14 days before Australia’s arrival. “In addition‚ CSA had also committed to importing an Australian tracking system at great cost to ensure proper tracking of close contacts in the event of a positive test.
“The touring team was also going to be granted VIP access through the airports‚ after government intervention to ensure this privilege.
“These are just some of the protocols that CSA was to put in place. We had really gone the extra mile to make sure that the tour would proceed.”
CSA would be particularly disappointed given that they recently hosted Sri Lanka in a bio-secure environment in Centurion with no glitches reported.
Apart from the Sri Lanka tour‚ CSA successfully organised the ongoing domestic Momentum One-Day Cup in a bio-secure environment in Potchefstroom and no positive Covid-19 cases have been reported.
The Pakistan women’s team is now touring SA in a bio-secure environment in Durban‚ without any problems.
Cricket Australia interim CEO Nick Hockley said the decision was not taken lightly.
“Due to the public health situation in SA‚ which includes a second wave and a new variant of the virus‚ and after extensive due diligence with medical experts‚ it has become clear that travelling from Australia to SA at this current time poses an unacceptable level of health and safety risk to our players‚ support staff and the community‚” said Hockley.