Melbourne: Australia's decision to pull out of next month's three-test tour in South Africa due to the COVID-19 pandemic is "extremely disappointing" considering the hosts had put in place a number of safety measures, Cricket South Africa (CSA) said on Tuesday.
"It has become clear that travelling 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," Cricket Australia's interim chief executive Nick Hockley said in a statement.
"This decision has not been made lightly and we are extremely disappointed, especially given the importance of continuing international cricket at this time." No dates were given on when the tour might take place.
But CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith believes the Australian concerns are unfounded.
"We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA," Smith said in a statement. "CSA has been working tirelessly in recent weeks to ensure that we meet every single expectation of CA.
"So to be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating." South Africa has recorded more than 1.45 million coronavirus cases and over 44,000 deaths. Since late last year, it has been battling a more transmissible variant of the virus.
The country hosted Sri Lanka for two tests around the turn of the year and their test side are currently touring Pakistan.
CSA acting chief executive officer Pholetsi Moseki said costs already incurred by the organisation in planning for the Australia tour were significant.
"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."