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Australia’s tour of South Africa, for a three-match Test series, has been called off due to a new wave of COVID-19 virus in the country. The Australia men's cricket team was supposed to depart for South Africa in late February for the Test series. Last week, Cricket Australia named a 19-man Test squad, with Tim Paine as captain, for the South Africa tour for which dates were yet to be finalised.


Cricket Australia Interim CEO Nick Hockley, in an official statement on Tuesday, confirmed that the board communicated their concerns with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and reached a decision to postpone the tour keeping public health in mind.


"Due to the public health situation in South Africa, which includes a second wave and new variant of the virus, and following extensive due diligence with medical experts, it has become clear that traveling 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,”


"We acknowledge the significant amount of work by CSA in planning for the tour, during which we made it clear that CA was prepared to take on additional cost and effort to make the series happen.


“This decision has not been made lightly and we are extremely disappointed, especially given the importance of continuing international cricket at this time, our valued relationship with CSA, and our aspirations to compete in the inaugural ICC World Test Championship.


"However, we have been consistent since the start of the pandemic that the health and safety of our people is always our number one priority and unfortunately despite best efforts to agree to a biosecurity plan, the risks are simply too great at this time.


“As difficult and disappointing a decision as this is, especially for Justin, Tim and the team, we have a duty of care to our people and their health and safety can't be compromised. "We look forward to playing the series against CSA at a date to be confirmed in due course and we send CSA and the people of South Africa our very best wishes for a successful rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and a return to normality soon."

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