Last night Cricket Australia released a press statement notifying the world that they have cancelled the upcoming test tour to South Africa. It did come a little out of left field to be honest, but their had been a few murmours surfacing over the last week with concerns about what is happening around the world and how the players lives are becoming more and more at risk every time they travel.
You have to hand it to all of the sporting administrators around the world. They have done their best to put on sporting events, tournaments, tours and so on whilst in the middle of a pandemic. We here in Australia are incredibly lucky to have not been affected and now when we get the smallest hint of something serious, our economies are snapped frozen for a few days to get on top of it. Is it the right thing to do? I honestly don’t know what the right thing to do with any of it. There are going to be people out there who think that Cricket Australia acted to quickly or were to cautious and then there are going to be people out there who think that it is crazy to think that they are still travelling all around the world subjecting their staff and no 1 commodity to a pandemic. Do you think it was the right thing to do?
It feels as though this could be the new norm for us all moving forward. Australia as I said earlier, is a country that hasn’t been affected anywhere near as much as South Africa. In saying that though, we have seen other teams travel to virus ravaged countries still play and get through it. We have seen T20 and T10 leagues all around the world still play and do well, how much longer they all still operate with these bubbles is another thing. A lot of players have come out and said how unsustainable it all is, which I totally agree with. Although even though it is unsustainable, won’t that make it a little easier to decide on which tournament you are or aren’t playing in? I can’t imagine what it would be like travelling, playing and constantly in a bubble life. It would be tough, doesn’t matter how much you are paid. If you can’t leave your hotel rooms constantly, that would be hard work. But what I do feel now is that it gives the players a little more freedom to say “I need a break, I am sitting this tournament out”, whereas in the past, if they did that, supporters and the like would be nailing them for not playing for the amount of money they are getting.
I am not saying for one second that Cricket Australia chose not to go on this tour because the financial incentive wasn’t there. What I am saying is that there might be more discussion these days on what tours to place our players in an unacceptable risk to their livelihoods. Whether or not Cricket Australia has made the right call will be up for a lot of debate and their will be plenty of so called professionals that will give their views on it, rightly or wrongly. Personally after being part of Cricket Australia and know exactly what they do behind the scenes to quantify whether or not a tour is safe or not, believe that Cricket Australia would not have made this decision without checking every single issue that could arise. Is it the right one for South African cricket? No but what we have seen yesterday might be the start of something a little more in sport around the world!