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South Africa tour still up in the air despite naming of Test squad

The management of hotel staff, however, is part of the biosecurity measures to be finalised by both boards.

Australia’s players are slated to tour South Africa, which is struggling to contain a second wave of coronavirus, next month.

Australia’s players are slated to tour South Africa, which is struggling to contain a second wave of coronavirus, next month.Credit:AP

South Africa, where a more contagious strain of coronavirus originated, is struggling to contain the second wave of the pandemic, recording more than 6000 new cases on Tuesday.

CA’s concern is ensuring players can safely leave and return to Australia. Government regulations require returned travellers to be tested 72 hours or less prior to departure and display evidence of a negative COVID-19test result.

Though the announcement of the squad is a sign of CA’s intent, their confidence in the series proceeding is qualified.

“As confident as you can be in the middle of a pandemic,” CA’s national teams boss Ben Oliver said.

“It’s a very fluid situation, as it has been throughout the whole summer, as it is for all international sport.”

England’s tour of South Africa ended controversially after two “unconfirmed positive” cases, sparking fears the integrity of the bubble had been breached by hotel staff who had been allowed to return home between shifts. They were later independently confirmed as false positives. Sri Lanka’s visit was completed without drama.

“The critical thing is we work with CSA [Cricket South Africa] to establish the appropriate biosecurity protocols to sit around a tour like this,” Oliver said.

“We’ve been fortunate in Australia to have reasonably low cases of COVID but we know in South Africa they’re unfortunately experiencing a second wave of the virus. We’re working hard with CSA to establish all of the protocols that would sit around the environment the teams would operate.

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“We’re working hard with our own authorities here on making sure we’ve got clear and safe passage going into and out of South Africa.

“They’re a couple of the key considerations of the tour that we need to work through. We’ll obviously keep the health and safety of our players, staff and community at the absolute forefront of our minds.”

The schedule for the series has not been finalised but there have been reports in South African media that the games would be played at Centurion and at the Wanderers, so players would not have to change accommodation or undergo air travel.

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