In an environment such as we face now, every piece of cricket played is vital to the life support system of the given country.
After the England tour was aborted after the debacle of the ODI series, perhaps the South African public were thankful after the Proteas suffered a 3-0 whitewash at the hands of the current world champions?
But then Sri Lanka arrived on our shores, and with them missing some key personnel, and the having a few injured in the first test match, the Proteas emerged victorious with a 2-0 test series before heading off to the shores of Pakistan.
It was the first visit to Pakistan since 2007, with test matches in the intervening years having being played in the UAE due to security concerns.
But everyone was excited and the first test match in Karachi dished up an excellent showpiece with the home side coming out victorious by seven wickets.
With the second test beginning in Rawalpindi tomorrow (4 February 2021), the Proteas would have been focused on salvaging a series draw but now – oh now – their minds might just be a tad off-balance thanks to one of the tri-facto Gods of cricket – Australia – having cancelled their 3-match test series tour at the 11th hour!
That’s right folks – the men from Down Under decided that the risks of the Covid pandemic are too high for them to visit our shores despite multiple assurances – at great cost – from everyone at the bedraggled CSA, health and government officials that the bio-secure areas would be of the highest quality.
Cricket Australia even had the audacity to offer to host the tour in their own country, but this was quickly dismissed by Cricket South Africa.
“We did offer to host the series here but Cricket South Africa made that very clear that they’ve got lots of other commitments and quarantine periods and the like that wasn’t feasible,” Nick Hockley, interim CEO of Cricket Australia was quoted as saying in Australian media.
From arranging VIP access at the airport, exclusive use of the Irene Country Lodge and secure transport from and to the ground, everything was taken care of.
“We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA,” Director of Cricket, Graeme Smith, stated. “CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA.”
CSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, added that there was not much more CSA could have done to appease CA and prepare more appropriately.
“The protocols we had proposed to CA were unprecedented,” he stated.
“Firstly, we had agreed that our own Proteas team would enter the BSE 14 days prior to the arrival of the Australian team, thus altering their planning during the current tour of Pakistan.“
Something that boggles the mind is why, after everything that CSA and the South African government has done and agreed to, that Australia would cancel so close to the tour starting?
MONEY! And nothing else but absolute greed! The fact that Australia, England and India continue to play each other in this day and age but scupper most other tours, has nothing else but GREED painted all over it.
In the past five years, Australia have played England in 10 test matches while facing off against the Indians – whom they have just played in four tests – 12 times.
England have faced India in 10 matches in the same period. In that same time frame, Australia’s next-most played opponent is Pakistan and South Africa – seven matches!!! Seven in five years! That is effectively 1.4 games per year.
England’s spread is a bit more even after Australia and India (10) with the West Indies and Pakistan on nine games and Sri Lanka and South Africa on eight.
India’s dances with England and Australia are followed by the West Indies (8) and then South Africa and Sri Lanka (6).
South Africa’s most faced opponents are Sri Lanka, with nine matches in the last five years with most of the series’ being just two matches.
In the last five years the Proteas have played just 42 test matches, with Australia having played 48, India 51 and England a staggering 61 tests.
When this is broken down into tests per year, the differences are not that much but think of the revenue per match – and not just from broadcast rights!
Think of the vendors that earn money from sales of food, drink and merchandise. The hotels from travelling teams and fans (well not now anyway) and the associated income generated from tourism.
“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,” added Manjra.
Pholetsi Moseki, CSA Acting Chief Executive Officer said, “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. CSA has incurred significant costs related to the planning stages and the cancellation of the tour represents a serious financial loss.”
“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.”
This smacks of arrogance on the part of Australia. The fact that they, England and India can control the cricketing world the way they do, is tantamount to tyranny!
Broadcasters aid in this tyranny by fanning the flames of greed. They don’t care that the game is not being grown across the world as it should – as long as their own pockets are lined with gold, who cares!
Well, I do. I love test cricket above all other formats and the fact that my beloved Proteas – despite the issues our cricketing fraternity faces now – play as little as they do, leaves one yearning for the days of amateur cricket when it was played for the love of the game – not love of the Dollar!