Concerns have arisen about India’s tour of India next month due to the new form of COVID-19 that has created panic in South Africa. According to sources in the Cricket Board of India (BCCI), any decision in this matter will be based on the advice of the government. The India A team is currently on a South African tour to play three unofficial Test matches in Bloemfontein which could be called off midway under uncertain circumstances as players from various sports are yet to move out of South Africa.
BCCI sources said on Friday, “Just wait. We will follow the advice of the government. When the Ministry of External Affairs was asked about the tour and the face of the redesign, he said, ‘This is another issue for our health officials and civil aviation officials. It is based on the circumstances. Cases are rising in the northern part of South Africa and at least two Test series sites Johannesburg and Pretoria (closer to Centurion) may be vulnerable to the redesign.
A senior BCCI official said on Friday, “Look, until we get to know from Cricket South Africa (CSA) the situation there, we will not be able to tell about our next course of action.” As per the current schedule, the Indian team is scheduled to leave on December 8 or 9 after the end of the series against New Zealand in Mumbai. Even though the tour is still being talked about as per the schedule but BCCI may talk to CSA in the next few days about the new variant B.1.1.
Meanwhile, according to reports on Friday, the Netherlands has decided to cancel its current South African tour. He took this step when the first ODI between the two teams was being played in Centurion. The next two matches were also to be played at the same venue. According to Cricket South Africa, a decision will be taken in the next two days as travel restrictions have come into force due to the redesign, which has also affected the travel plans of the guests.
The CSA said, ‘A decision on continuation of the series will be taken in the next 24 to 48 hours. All flight options are being considered now. A BCCI official has indicated that even though the players will be flown from Mumbai to Johannesburg chartered aircraft, they may have to stay in strict isolation for three or four days in the changed circumstances. “Earlier there was no provision of strict isolation but of course the players would be living in a bio-bubble (bio-secure environment). Now the cases are increasing in South Africa and the European Union has also temporarily canceled flights there, we need to look into these aspects.
In this regard, the administrative officer present in Bloemfontein along with the India A team on the South African tour was also contacted. He said, ‘We did not have to go through strict isolation when we reached here as we had come by chartered aircraft and were living in a bio bubble. Cricket South Africa’s medical team held a meeting with our representatives here after the new cases were detected. “We have been told that there is nothing to worry about as the area where the cases have been found is far from Bloemfontein where we have to play our next two matches as well,” the official said over the phone. He also told that till Friday the India A team had not received any instructions from the BCCI.
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The schedule of the Indian team’s tour of South Africa is as follows…
- First Test: December 17-21: The Wanderers, Johannesburg
- Second Test: 26-30 December: SuperSport Park, Centurion
- Third Test: January 3-7: Newlands, Cape Town
- 1st ODI: January 11: Boland Park, Paarl
- 2nd ODI: January 14: Newlands, Cape Town
- 3rd ODI: January 16: Newlands, Cape Town
- 1st T20: January 19: Newlands, Cape Town
- Second T20: January 21: Newlands, Cape Town
- Third T20: January 23: Boland Park, Paarl
- Fourth T20: January 26: Boland Park, Paarl
New COVID Variant In South Africa: Panic due to new variant of Covid-19 in South Africa, India tour in danger