CSA’s Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, empathized with the BCCI for the bubble-lapse that happened in the IPL, but, concurrently, pointed out the ‘double standards’ of the Aussie and English cricketers. While England exited SA mid-tour due to a breach, Australia refused to tour the country.
An unexpected bubble breach, that led to a Covid outbreak, brought an abrupt halt to the 2021 edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), and one person who knows a lot about faulty bubbles is Graeme Smith. Cricket South Africa’s Director of Cricket, Smith was at the helm of affairs last year when England exited South Africa mid-way through a limited-overs tour due to a small lapse in the bubble, and the former South African skipper was also at the receiving end of a snub earlier this year when Australia downright refused to tour the Rainbow Nation due to COVID fears.
Almost none of the Aussie and English cricketers have thus far spoken ill of IPL’s faulty bubble, and Smith pointed out how the same proves the double standards of the players of the two countries.
“You see some of those players sitting there at the IPL and not making any noise. Having had experience of things here you do see some things differently, and [you see] a version of double standards. It's disappointing,” Cricbuzz quoted Smith as saying.
However, Smith had nothing but good things to say about the IPL bubble and insisted that lapses cannot be prevented. Smith said that he received extremely positive feedback from the South African players who played IPL 2021, and asserted that no biosecure environment is ‘fool-proof’.
"In no way would we judge. Having spoken to the players, they felt safe. They felt the BSE [Bio-Secure Environment] was a really good experience in India. They never felt at risk. But that's the nature of what Covid brings."
"Sometimes you can do whatever you want but the BSE - as we've said to everyone - is never foolproof. When Covid is raging in your country there's always a risk. Unfortunately once it gets inside it's very difficult to predict what's going to happen."
South Africa were not able to pull off the England and Australia games, but they did, nevertheless, successfully host Pakistan and Sri Lanka, apart from completing their entire domestic season. Smith reckoned that CSA did an incredible job, and claimed that the board are, in fact, under-credited and underappreciated.
"I think CSA have put on 15 or 16 BSEs this season, and I don't think enough has been made of the success that we've had," Smith said.
“I think Pakistan had been in five BSEs before they arrived here. The feedback we received from them on what we were able to produce here, in comparison, was that it was probably the best. We've got a good grip of how handle it, how we want to do it, and how we roll it out in terms of our testing protocols, the type of hotels we've used, and the mindset. Our stadiums have been excellent."