Pakistan's tour of South Africa likely to be postponed over Covid-19 pandemic

Abdul Mohi Shah
CSA says that they are not in the position to host Pakistan in the upcoming tour. Photo: File 

Pakistan's tour to South Africa may likely be postponed after Cricket South Africa (CSA) Director Cricket Graeme Smith’s issued a statement, last week, that they were unequipped to host any cricket activity due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Pakistan’s team was scheduled to play three World Cup 50-50 qualifying round matches plus three T20s ahead of the postponed T20 World Cup. But now the tour in late September looks highly unlikely.

“South Africa as a host country has the authority to decide on the fate of the tour. Smith’s last week statement possibly says it all. If they are not ready to host cricket, visiting teams are not in a position to force them,” a Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) official, when contacted, said.

CSA has already cancelled away tours to Sri Lanka and West Indies. Despite West Indies Cricket Board’s keen interest, CSA looked least interested to tour West Indies — a country not affected by Covid-19 pandemic. Majority of the South African cricketers have shown their interest in playing Indian Premier League (IPL) and even their board does not seem interested to convince players to take the West Indies tour amid the league engagements.

“The three-match series was supposed to be the first for Pakistan campaign to directly qualify for the 2023 World Cup. Obviously we wanted to kickstart the campaign but now that looks almost impossible,” the PCB official added.

If pandemic permits, there are good chances that the series against South Africa could take place in February-March 2021.

Pakistan will now start its efforts to directly qualify for the 2023 World Cup with home series against Zimbabwe. 

“Now Pakistan face three-pronged challenges — to host Zimbabwe in November for a limited-overs series; organise remaining four matches of the Pakistan Super League; hold the entire domestic season in a bio-secure environment. The next three months will be spent in making best arrangements for these commitments,” a PCB official said. 

The CSA, however, is yet to communicate to the PCB about cancellation of the tour.

Pakistan's tour of South Africa likely to be postponed over Covid-19 pandemi