South Africa Cricket manager Graeme Smith said none of the country’s players, who took part in the now postponed IPL, “felt unsafe” during their stay in India as the BCCI had created a good bio-secure environment (ESB).
The IPL was postponed to May 4 after several cases of COVID-19 appeared inside the bio-bubble. The 11 South Africans, who took part in the championship, have already left for Johannesburg.
“In no case would we judge. After talking to the players, they felt safe. They felt that BSE (Bio-Secure Environment) was a very good experience in India. They never felt in danger. But that’s the nature of what COVID brings, ”Smith, a former South African captain, said at a press conference.
India currently reports more than 400,000 cases of coronavirus per day, with nearly 4,000 deaths per day.
Smith said that in the midst of a raging pandemic, the element of risk is still present and organizers cannot be blamed.
“Sometimes you can do whatever you want, but BSE – as we’ve told everyone – is never foolproof. When COVID is raging in your country, there is always a risk. Unfortunately, once it gets inside it is very difficult to predict what will happen.
Smith also praised BCCI’s efforts to ensure the safe departure of all South African players, who would return home on Friday and be quarantined at home.
“The duty of care (BCCI) demonstrated in bringing everyone home has been exemplary.
“From the perspective of our own players, it’s been a little easier in that our borders aren’t closed and there are still commercial trips available for them.”
South Africa has recorded far fewer cases than India and yet the Australian team have postponed their trip underlining the risk to player health safety. Smith said the move smacked of double standards.
“You see some of these players sitting there at IPL and not making a sound. Having experienced things here, you see some things differently and (you see) a double standards version. It’s disappointing.”
Smith said the CSA had created 16 bio-bubbles in the past year, but had not received enough credit.
“I think the ASC have pitched 15 or 16 ESBs this season, and I don’t think the success we’ve had enough has been,” said Smith.