Australia-Afghanistan Test postponed due to Covid-19 scheduling difficulties

Rashid Khan is elated after picking up a wicket AFP

Cricket Australia has announced the postponement of the inaugural Test against Afghanistan which was originally scheduled to take place in Perth in November due to the complexities of scheduling amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

The confirmation that the Test has not survived the restructuring of the season came a few hours after New Zealand Cricket said they would not be touring for the short limited-overs trip at the end of January.

Staging cricket in Perth this season has been given an additional challenge by the hard border imposed by the Western Australian government and very strict quarantine restrictions that do not allow training while in isolation.

It leaves the visit of India as the single men's touring team to Australia the coming summer with CA confirming they will play four Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is although the order of the white-ball cricket remains to be confirmed. The Test series is expected to start in Adelaide on December 17.

CA said it will look to reschedule both the Afghanistan Test, which was hopeful of finding a home in early December, and the New Zealand visit before the end of the current FTP cycle in 2023. Earlier, the NZC CEO David White said he was hopeful their tour could take place next season.

"Cricket Australia looks forward to working with our good friends at the Afghanistan Cricket Board and New Zealand Cricket to deliver the matches at a time when, hopefully, the restrictions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have eased," Nick Hockley, the Cricket Australia CEO, said.

"We all worked incredibly hard to make the series happen this summer, but the challenges around international travel and quarantine restrictions ultimately convinced all parties that the series would need to be played at a later date.

"CA looks forward to welcoming the Indian men's team for a full schedule of matches this summer in what promises to be an incredible contest across all three formats.

"CA would also like to take this opportunity to thank our wonderful partners for their understanding and support as we have navigated the complexities of hosting international sport during a pandemic to deliver a thrilling summer across men's and women's cricket at international and domestic level."

The WACA said it understood the decision and would continue to work to stage cricket in Perth this season with the hope of getting one of the travelling BBL hubs.

"We understand we need to remain agile in this current climate and this decision will not waiver our efforts to bring live cricket to Perth this summer as we continue to work closely with Cricket Australia and both the Australian and WA Government," WACA CEO Christina Matthews said.

"With world-class facilities and the opportunity for cricket fans to attend matches we maintain that WA is well-positioned to host cricket content, including a BBL hub."