Cricket South Africa’s (CSA) director of cricket Graeme Smith on Friday revealed that the Proteas will use two different teams in the Pakistan tour, so that their Test squad members can return home early to begin their quarantine period ahead of the home series against Australia. The dates of the three-match Test series between South Africa and Australia are yet to be confirmed. The South African team is currently in Pakistan to play two Tests and three T20Is, commencing from January 26. After the conclusion of the second Test, the Proteas Test squad will leave Pakistan and a separate squad will play the three T20Is in Pakistan on February 11, 13, and 14.
“When you work on biosecure environment protocols for Covid-19, you work with other member nations and if member nations don’t support each other and play cricket, cricket’s going to find itself in a very challenging space,” Smith said in a virtual press conference.
“Your objective is to find the protocols that work for both. In working with Cricket Australia (CA), we’ve come to a lot of those medical conclusions and how that’s going to look. There will be an initial quarantine period before that series. Unfortunately, we would have to play two different squads at the time,” he added.
According to the schedule for the World Test Championship, Tim Paine’s side is meant to be facing the Proteas in three Tests in South Africa between February 14 and March 13 — a key assignment leading up to the tournament final in England in mid-2021. But the problems during England’s visit has made the trip increasingly problematic, ESPNcricinfo reported.
“We would love to get our home summer completed, and Australia are a big part of that home summer. We saw from the Australia-India series the hype around Test cricket. I think it’s going to be a great test of where we are as a squad. We are motivated. The last time a Test series with Australia happened in South Africa it was very heated and we all know what went on. We are very excited to be able to host Australia, but that comes with certain restrictions and medical protocols,” Smith said.
Earlier, Australia assistant coach Andrew McDonald said one team will travel to South Africa, and the other team will go to New Zealand to play the five-match T20I series, starting from February 22.
“We are expecting the tour to go ahead and we are planning our preparations with our quicks. A team going for South Africa for the Test series and a team going to New Zealand none of that changed at this stage. We are working day and night to make sure that we do go to South Africa. I think it is important for the world cricket that the show goes on,” McDonald had said in the virtual press-conference.
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