South African Cricket has let rip at Cricket Australia for postponing their tour after it was deemed unsafe due to coronavirus concerns.
Cricket Australia on Tuesday called off next month's three-Test series due to start on the 3rd of March as the host nation struggles to contain the virus and a new variant.
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The decision came down to health and safety risks after discussions with medical experts, Cricket Australia's interim chief executive Nick Hockley said.
"We acknowledge the significant amount of work by CSA in planning for the tour," Hockley said.
"This decision has not been made lightly and we are extremely disappointed, especially given the importance of continuing international cricket at this time."
South Africa hits out at Cricket Australia
Only 12 days ago, interim board chairman Zak Yacoob said he was confident the tour would go ahead.
This is despite South Africa enduring a second wave of Covid-19 with up to 12,000 cases reported a day at the time.
Cases have since dropped to around 5,000 a day and restrictions eased in the country.
And the decision for Australia to postpone the tour did not sit well with South Africa’s cricket director Graeme Smith.
Smith claimed Australia’s reasoning was unfounded and the host nation had prepared for a safe environment for the visitors.
"We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA," he said in a statement.
"CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA.
"So to be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating."
CSA's acting chief executive officer Pholetsi Moseki said the organisation had already incurred significant costs while preparing for the Australia tour.
"In this challenging period for cricket and its member countries, we believe the stance taken by CA is regrettable and will have a serious impact on the sustainability of the less wealthy cricket playing nations," he said.
But Hockley said the tour proposed too much fo a health risk with the new Covid-19 variant.
"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 the community," Hockley said.
"As difficult and disappointing a decision as this is, especially for Justin (Langer), Tim (Paine) and the team, we have a duty of care to our people and their health and safety can't be compromised."
South Africa has recorded more than 1.45 million coronavirus cases and more than 44,000 deaths.
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