Cricket South Africa have confirmed that Australia’s three Test series against South Africa, which is scheduled for February-March, will go ahead as planned despite the worrying Covid-19 situation in the Rainbow Nation. The Irene Country Club is expected to be used as a secure base for the teams.
Despite reports earlier suggesting that Australia’s three-Test series against the Proteas could be played in Perth due to the worrying and deteriorating Covid-19 situation in South Africa, the recent chain of events have suggested that the series will go ahead as planned, and will be played in the Rainbow Nation. Last week, former Australia bowler Ryan Harris suggested that the Aussies will leave for South Africa on February 24, and now, Cricket South Africa interim board’s chairperson Judge Zak Yacoob has reiterated the same and has all but confirmed that the series, despite apprehensions, will go ahead as planned.
The dates are yet to be confirmed, but, like the Sri Lanka series, the Irene Country Club is expected to be used as a secure base for the teams, with matches divided between SuperSport Park and the Wanderers.
"Australia's tour at this stage is going ahead. I had a chat with the chair of Cricket Australia about a week ago and we agreed that the tour is going to go ahead," Judge Zak Yacoob, chairperson of CSA's interim board, said.
"We agreed that we are going to ensure that our facilities are as good as possible, as good as necessary.”
Last month, South Africa’s three-match ODI series versus England was called off after multiple South African players tested positive for Covid-19 after entering the bio-bubble, but with CSA having successfully staged the Sri Lanka tour after the mishap, Yacoob is confident that the Australia tour will go ahead without complications. He did, however, admit that the virus is unpredictable and anything can transpire, but asserted that both CSA and CA are actively seeking advice from doctors and health experts to ensure that the highest standards of safety are met.
“We also agreed we learn every day but that is not on the basis that we did anything wrong when England was here because you know that none of the English were affected. That's the bottom line. They all flew back and that was fine.
"But the learning in relation to this virus changes all the time and as it changes things must change. We agreed that as professionals neither he [CA's chair] nor I know anything about this. We have doctors, we have experts, who lead us through this process and what we have adopted is an approach that as long as the experts on both sides, true professionals in relation to coronavirus and health, agree that the facilities are fine, we go on the basis that the facilities are fine.
“So far there is between the chair of CA and myself no doubt that the series will go ahead, but we have agreed also that the coronavirus is so changing, that we cannot predict what will happen. If things suddenly go down for the worse and we really can't do it and our experts say we can't do it and the other experts say we can't do it, we won't be able to."
The South Africa Tests will be important for Australia, who after the series defeat at home to India, have slipped below New Zealand in the World Test Championship table. The Kangaroos will have to beat the Proteas by at least a 2-1 margin to now stand a chance of making it to the WTC Finale at Lord’s.