After several doubts caused by a new COVID-19 variant Omicron, India’s tour of South Africa will continue as originally planned but in a curtailed way, both Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) confirmed on Saturday. (More Cricket News)
The Indian team will depart for the rainbow nation a week later from their scheduled departure. India will play three ODIs and same number of Tests matches against South Africa. However, the four T20 internationals which were originally scheduled along with Tests and ODIs will be rescheduled in the New Year.
According to the CSA, the venues for the new schedule will be confirmed in the next 48 hours. The Indians were originally set to leave on December 9 but the travel plans have changed, which means that the Tests are unlikely to start on December 17 as planned earlier.
“BCCI has confirmed (to the) CSA that (the) Indian team will travel for three Tests and three ODIs. The remaining four T20Is will be played at a later date,” secretary Jay Shah said in a statement. Cricket South Africa appreciated BCCI’s commitment to the series.
“Cricket South Africa can confirm that the India Tour will continue as originally scheduled, with a few adjustment to the logistical arrangements, such as the arrival time of the India Team,” the CSA said.
“...the tour is now confirmed and the arrival timings of the India team will be moved out by a week, to allow for effective logistical planning....CSA is pleased to announce that this tour will also take place under the strictest COVID-19 guidelines,” it added in a statement.
South Africa’s discovery of the Omicron variant has caused much trepidation as cases have soared in the country. The number of new cases in South Africa has zoomed from close to 200 a day in mid-November to over 16,000 on Friday.
The Netherlands tour of the Rainbow Nation also had to be abandoned after the emergence of the new variant triggered panic all around the world with many countries imposing travel bans on the country. CSA also had to postpone its domestic fixtures after some of the players tested positive for the virus on arrival.
However, the India A squad stayed on in South Africa raising hopes that the subsequent senior tour will go ahead. India also did not ban flights from South Africa though it put the nation in the ‘at risk’ category.
The India tour not taking place would have caused massive financial damage to the CSA. Acting CSA CEO Pholetsi Moseki thanked his BCCI counterparts for their support in these trying times. “I would like to thank both the leadership of Cricket South Africa, as well as the leadership of the BCCI for working so tirelessly to make this tour a reality.
“Even under the most uncertain times, the Boards kept the light of hope alive and kept us anticipating that this tour will indeed take place. For us as CSA it is always a meeting of old friends when the Proteas take on India, but we will still present the fans with a compelling proposition and a great spectacle to watch,” said Moseki.