Cricket Australia has been accused of acting “against the spirit of sportsmanship” and damaging the sport as bad blood continues to bubble after a tour of South Africa was scuppered on health grounds.
Last week, CA pulled the pin on a three-Test tour of South Africa that was slated to start in March.
It came after long-running negotiations fell over, with Cricket South Africa (CSA) now claiming they were led down the garden path by an organisation that had no intention to send its team.
CA insists that it was committed to the tour but, as chief executive Nick Hockley noted, there was simply an unacceptable level of risk to players, support staff and the community.
Hockley’s organisation wanted iron-clad details of the tour’s biosecurity bubble by January 22, with things reaching an impasse a week and a half after that deadline passed.
There have been countless knock-on effects with Tim Paine’s team now far less likely to reach this year’s Test championship final at Lord’s.
And there was no scope for David Warner, Pat Cummins and other Test stars to be last-minute inclusions for a Twenty20 tour of New Zealand, because lead-up isolation periods formed part of quarantine exemptions in Christchurch.
CSA, already in financial strife after years of political turmoil, will miss out on much-needed broadcast revenue.
South Africa’s governing body has written to both the International Cricket Council and CA regarding that point, raising a series of concerns.
CSA reportedly slammed CA’s decision as being “against the spirit of sportsmanship” in its letter to the ICC.
CSA, according to ESPNcricinfo, claimed there would be implications for the credibility of the world Test championship and “serious impact on the financial wellbeing” of cash-strapped cricket boards.
CSA’s letter to CA was also said to be pointed, highlighting it “cannot over-emphasise the loss of revenue caused by your unfortunate decision as well as the reputational damage that is certain to follow”.
“The cancellation of our tour sends a hurtful message to the less-wealthy cricket-playing nations of the world,” CSA wrote.
“Our considered view is that it will have a deleterious impact on the stability of global cricket, its growth and its future.”
Meanwhile, star Alyssa Healy admits she is concerned about the impact that COVID-19 could have on women’s cricket.
CA has made its commitment clear, staging both the WBBL and women’s one-day competition this season.
But, as Healy noted, the number of international games around the world has been “quite low” amid the pandemic.
“A lot of countries have really struggled with COVID, we’re so lucky here,” Healy said.
“The more we can help one another out as countries, the better. Whether that be sharing the load, funding wise … or whatever it might need to be.”