‘No justification’ for England to abandon South Africa tour, CSA says

Source: Cricinfo

by SportsDiction – 10, December, 2020

Judge Zak Yacoob, the chair of CSA’s interim board, has suggested that there was “no justification” for England to abandon their tour of South Africa and defending the efficacy of the Covid protocols imposed by the board.

Speaking in a virtual press conference on Thursday, Judge Yacoob said that he was “95% certain” that Sri Lanka would be arriving in South Africa next week ahead of their Test series, which starts December 26, and suggested that the ‘Big Three’ boards – the BCCI, Cricket Australia and the ECB – act as “laws unto themselves”.

“What I want to negate is an idea that our provision of services was substandard and that there is any justification for the English saying they did not want to participate and go home,” Judge Yacoob said. “The facts are that ultimately, they were negative. We have gone into or protocols and we think that our protocols have been very good.

“There may have been an issue of psychological troubles. People may have felt nervous about false positives. Our position is that we do not wish to blame the English, but we wish to say absolutely and completely that any notion that they went away because it was in any way our fault, is completely wrong.

“The only criticism I can make, and I am not even authorised to make it, is that we were too lax with the English and their desire to do things which in our strict view they shouldn’t be doing.” Judge Zak Yacoob
“There is an awkward narrative coming out that third world countries can’t manage these things properly. I can say we have been managing the virus much better than England. There was some attempt to ensure that in relation with what happened with England, Sri Lanka should not come here. They are coming next week, I hope.”

When the tour was called off, Kugandrie Govender, the acting chief executive of CSA, and Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive, issued a joint statement saying that they had made the decision “to ensure the mental and physical health and welfare of players from both teams”.

The two ‘unconfirmed positive’ cases in the England touring party were confirmed as false positives after independent ratification on Tuesday, a day after the ODI series had been postponed, and less than 48 hours before England’s charter flight back to the UK.

Judge Yacoob also suggested that the protocols CSA imposed on England’s touring party were not sufficiently stringent. Reports in local media have highlighted the fact England were permitted to play golf away from the Vineyard Hotel, while ESPNcricinfo revealed that the ECB had been warned by Western Province officials about a potential breach of arrangements with a nets session on the eve of the postponed first ODI.