Ugly twist in bitter cricket dispute

Australian cricket fans will begrudgingly be cheering for England this week, knowing a spot in the World Test Championship final is up for grabs.

If host nation India secures a win or musters a draw in the fourth Test against England, Australia will not qualify for the historic match at Lord’s.

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But a spanner has been thrown in the works, with a disgruntled Cricket South Africa hoping to spoil the party.

As reported by The Sydney Morning Herald’s Andrew Wu, CSA is seeking financial compensation from Cricket Australia and WTC points for the three-Test tour’s postponement.

Tim Paine, Nathan Lyon and Pat Cummins of Australia.Source:Getty Images

CA pulled out of the Test series last month, citing “unacceptable” health risks — over the summer, South Africa battled with a mutant strain of COVID-19.

CSA delivered a scathing response to CA’s decision, which placed a considerably large financial burden on the host nation.

The organisation expressed “immense disappointment” following February’s bombshell announcement, claiming “the safety of players is always paramount.”

South African great and CSA Director of Cricket Graeme Smith said the organisation was “extremely disappointed” in CA’s “frustrating” decision.

CSA’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr Shuaib Manjra, claimed the organisation did everything in its power to appease CA’s demands.

However, CA claimed CSA failed to meet deadlines and provide assurances about biosecurity measures.

South African captain Quinton de Kock and Australian captain Tim Paine.Source:AFP

CSA subsequently lodged an official complaint with the ICC, arguing CA shouldn’t have the power to “unilaterally” abandon tours.

The SMH report claimed that if CSA and CA cannot reach an agreement by the end of the week, the matter will be taken to an independent panel.

The panel may decide to award all 120 WTC points on offer to South Africa, ultimately knocking Australia out of contention for the final against New Zealand — regardless of what happens in the fourth Test between India and England, which commences on Thursday.

According to the report, boards can be fined AU$2.55 million for failing to honour Future Tour Programme commitments.

If Australia does not play in the WTC final, Tim Paine’s side will have no matches scheduled between now and the 2021/22 Ashes series.

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