Being too lax with England requests our only failing, claims acting CSA chief
The acting head of Cricket South Africa (CSA) has offered a combative assessment over England’s abandoned one-day tour, absolving the home board of any blame beyond “being too lax with the English”.
The tour was cut short earlier this week, leaving three ODI matches unplayed, following a series of positive tests for coronavirus in the shared team hotel.
Two cases from the England camp were eventually shown to be ‘false positives’ but by that point the decision had already been made due to the rising levels of anxiety among players.
A joint statement released at the time suggested it had been a mutual conclusion but Judge Zak Yacoob, chair of CSA’s interim board, suggested on Thursday that he was less than impressed with events.
Addressing suggestions that there had been a loss of faith in the integrity of CSA’s ‘bio-secure environment’, Yacoob said: “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 (instead) go home.
“We have gone into or protocols and we think that our protocols have been very good. I don’t think we want an apology from anyone but if they say lies about us, we will defend ourselves. I am prepared to leave it on the basis that we do understand the sensitivities of the matter.
“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.
“A statement has been issued and if you read carefully between the lines you will be able to draw inferences from it. But the facts are that ultimately, they were negative.”
Whether he was referring to England’s willingness to play on or the eventual outcome of their test results was not clear, but Yacoob left no doubt in defending what had been provided.
Pushed to consider any areas that might have been tighter, he pointed the finger at England’s apparent desire to play golf at an external site and their use of a net area at Newlands that had been previously ruled off limits. On each occasion, the requests were granted.
He said: “The only criticism I can make, and I am not even authorised to make it but I will do so, 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.
“We were stronger on preventing our players from doing things and we allowed the visitors a little more laxity. There’s a courtesy thing, because they are visitors and so on. I understand it a little but I disagree completely.”
Yacoob also widened his focus, with a pointed referenced to the United Kingdom’s well-documented troubles during the pandemic – though made no reference to the full slate of negatives achieved during the English cricket season.
He said: “There is an awkward narrative that is coming out that third-world countries can’t manage these things properly and so on. I can say we have been managing the virus better than England, we’ve got to know that.”
The ECB declined an invitation to comment. CSA, meanwhile, was pleased to announce that Sri Lanka had agreed to honour their forthcoming Test tour of the country after reviewing the arrangements.
Ben Stokes could bowl in fourth Test as England look to level series
Stokes has not bowled competitively since early July and initially had no plans to do so in this series.
England batter Ollie Pope unfazed by ‘interesting’ Ranchi pitch for fourth Test
The 26-year-old believes the surface doing a fair bit “definitely brings us into the game”.
Cricket’s economic influence in India – a comprehensive analysis
An interesting read.
India batter Virat Kohli announces birth of child on social media
The 35-year-old had made himself unavailable for the ongoing series against England due to personal reasons.
I have plenty going on – Colin Graves explains not apologising to Azeem Rafiq
Graves officially returned as Yorkshire chairman on February 9.
India set to rest star paceman Jasprit Bumrah for fourth Test against England
Bumrah is the leading wicket-taker in the series with 17 dismissals at a stunning average of 13.64.
ECB lacked ‘backbone’ for not calling out Lord Botham’s criticism of ICEC report
The former England all-rounder and Durham chairman described last summer’s findings on discrimination in cricket as “nonsense”.
Alice Capsey eyeing World Cup glory as teen looks to build on rollercoaster 2023
The 19-year-old has added plenty to her ‘toolbox’ after World Cup and Ashes experiences in 2023.
Will England change ‘Bazball’ approach after heavy third Test defeat to India?
There have been suggestions that England’s aggressive approach needs to be refined.
Brendon McCullum adamant England will not change methods despite huge defeat
The tourists slipped 2-1 behind in the five-match series.