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Graeme Smith Blasts Australia For Cancelling Test Series At The Last Minute

Graeme Smith Blasts Australia For Cancelling Test Series At The Last Minute

South Africa's director of cricket Graeme Smith has gone to town on us Aussies after we canned our Test tour due to risks surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Granted, it was a pretty last-minute cancellation, but Smith wasn't best pleased either way.

The cricket legend insists South Africa had "bent over backwards" to ensure the Australian team remained safe during their travels.

Australian skipper Tim Paine. Credit: PA
Australian skipper Tim Paine. Credit: PA
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But when he was informed that Cricket Australia (CA) officials had made the decision to withdraw from the tour over coronavirus fears, Smith couldn't bite his tongue.

"We are extremely disappointed by the decision of CA... To be informed about the CA decision at the eleventh hour is frustrating," Smith said.

"The amount of work that's gone in over the past few weeks in getting this tour under way has been immense.

"We've done everything possible to get the tour under way but there is that aspect of not being able to solve some of the fears Australia had."

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Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers. Credit: PA
Graeme Smith and AB de Villiers. Credit: PA

Captain Tim Paine and the Australian team were due to fly into South Africa in the coming days, but a recent spike in coronavirus cases put CA on red alert.

The country experienced an outbreak in mid-January which saw its infections rise to just under 1.5 million in total.

"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, traveling at this current time poses an unacceptable health and safety risk to our players, support staff and the community," CA interim chief executive Nick Hockley said.

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It was then reported that Australia had tabled a counteroffer to play the three-test series Down Under Instead - but it was ultimately turned down.

"We did offer to host the series here, but Cricket South Africa made that very clear that they have got lots of other commitments and with quarantine periods and the like, that just wasn't feasible," Hockley added.

"I don't think Cricket South Africa could have done any more... in terms of biosecurity arrangements.

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"Firstly, South Africa, very sadly, hit the peak of their second wave.

"And secondly, they have got the more virulent strain which there is still lots of unknowns around that.

"As we worked through the residual risk and also some questions and challenges [around] if we were to get a case, how and when we could get our players back home, putting health and safety absolutely number one, we were really left with no option."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: south africa, Pandemic, Coronavirus, Australia, Covid-19

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Max Sherry

Max Sherry is a journalist for SPORTbible Australia. After migrating Down Under from London as a teenager, he instantly fell in love with Aussie sport and its culture. From NRL to AFL, cricket to rugby — you name it, Max watches it (with a beer in hand, of course). During his time at Fox Sports, he worked in the football department covering the Premier League, A-League, Socceroos and Matildas. Born a stone's throw away from West Ham's training ground, Max is obviously a die-hard Liverpool fan.