Cricket Australia says it is monitoring the situation in South Africa on a daily basis before it comes to a possible tour there in the coming weeks.
The selectors have unveiled a 19-person squad for the series that does not yet require formal approval. The COVID-19 situation in this country is a cause for concern.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University, South Africa has recorded nearly 1.5 million cases of the virus and more than 41,000 deaths.
Should the tour continue, the team is expected to leave Australia in late February. Three tests will be held at the beginning of March.
“We are doing everything we can to give the tour every chance to be successful,” CA’s Ben Oliver told reporters.
“As you will appreciate, there are a number of pretty significant challenges to playing the international sport during a pandemic, which is why we are still working on this with Cricket South Africa.
“We hope to be able to clarify all outstanding questions shortly.”
Oliver downplayed all the proposals CA had made prior to the South Africa tour for a vaccine for its players and staff.
News Corp reported over the weekend that CA chief medical officer Dr. John Orchard, who had written to Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly, “to investigate the possibility of receiving a dose of one of these vaccines in Australia or elsewhere by Feb. 24” when the team is due to depart.
“We have obviously asked for a vaccination schedule clarification here in Australia to understand how it would affect our tours,” said Oliver.
“To make this clear the main priority is to ensure that our group can go on tour and return to Australia safely and we are doing everything we can to make that happen.”
Since “bladder fatigue” is an issue for players who have been on the road for six months or more, CA understands that it is something to watch out for.
“There is no doubt that living with bubbles presents significant challenges, but the way our group has behaved throughout has been exceptional,” said Oliver.
“We are obviously very focused on the health and wellbeing of our employees, so we’ve created the best possible environments for people to work in when they are in the bladders or hubs.
“We make sure we have the right support. There is no doubt that there is some fatigue in there.
Nathan Lyon, Tim Paine and Pat Cummin on the final day of the fourth test in Brisbane. (Getty)
“There is no doubt that we need to keep monitoring this, we will continue to prioritize it.”
Oliver said he was “as confident as you can be in the middle of a pandemic” that the South Africa tour would take place, but noted the situation was very fluid.
“We have been fortunate to have relatively few cases of COVID here in Australia, but we obviously know that unfortunately there is a second wave of the virus in South Africa,” he said.
“We work hard with CSA to create all of the logs that revolve around the environment the team needs to operate in. We also work hard with our own authorities here just to make sure we are clear and precise.” safe passage for the team in and from South Africa.
“We will of course keep the health and safety of our players, staff and our community at the very forefront of our decision-making process, which is why we are unable to officially announce that the tour continues.”
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