Australia could be in danger of not making it to the World Test Championship (WTC) final even if England win the fourth test against India this week. According to Sydney Morning Herald, International Cricket Council (ICC) is set to take up the complaint registered by Cricket South Africa (CSA) against Australia for cancelling the tour of South Africa due to health concerns. If the ruling goes in favour of CSA, then all 120 points from the series could be awarded to South Africa.
Earlier in February, Cricket Australia (CA) decided to pull out of the bilateral test series against South Africa due to the rise in cases of coronavirus in the country. CSA was furious with CA’s decision as they were completely prepared to successfully stage the series. They wrote an open letter to ICC to solve this dispute.
Australia needed to win the series with a comfortable margin and England doing them favour by not losing the series against India to reach the WTC final. ICC has asked CA to settle this dispute on amicable terms by the end of this week.
If CA fails to settle the dispute with CSA, ICC will take things into their hands and they could hand all 120 points from that series to South Africa. In such a scenario, India will comfortably qualify for the final even if they lose the final test match against England this week. Australia’s points percentile tally will significantly drop below India in World Test Championship standings if all 120 points are given to South Africa. Moreover, CSA is also likely to get financial compensation from CA for pulling out from this test series. ICC will send a strong message to bigger cricket boards by pronouncing judgement in CSA’s favour.
CSA has called upon the big three (BCCI, CA, and ECB) to cooperate with other boards during the pandemic. They remain confident about arranging more series with India and England due to their good relationship with BCCI and ECB. However, the equation with CA has been muddled after the recent controversy. Australia is likely to end up paying a hefty price for last month’s decision to suspend the tour of South Africa.
The cancellation of the series between Australia and South Africa sealed New Zealand’s place in the WTC final. As of now, India is the firm favourite to play Kiwis in this one-off test match at Lords in June. England was out of contention after suffering a heavy defeat against India in day-night test at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad last week.