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India’s tour to South Africa in focus, curtailed tour in discussion

Although the tour was going to be played in a bio-secure environment, what is bothering the BCCI right now is that other than Johannesburg, the teams will stay in hotels open to other guests.

Published: 03rd December 2021 12:24 AM  |   Last Updated: 03rd December 2021 12:24 AM   |  A+A-

India men's cricket team

India men's cricket team(Photo | Twitter/BCCI)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Even as Cricket South Africa (CSA) is preparing an elaborate plan to convince the BCCI to send its men’s team for a full-fledged series from mid-December to January amid Omicron concerns, a revised schedule seems inevitable.

Although BCCI officials are not ruling out the possibility of a full tour as of now, they are indicating the possibility of a curtailed tour as an option as well. This was necessitated after it came to light that Indian players have to undergo seven days of hard quarantine on arrival at Johannesburg.

As per the current schedule, India is set to leave for Johannesburg via a chartered flight on December 9 to play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is. However, as things stand, there seems to be a question mark on this as the BCCI is still assessing the ground situation in South Africa, which has seen a spike in new variant Covid cases, especially in Johannesburg.

Although the tour was going to be played in a bio-secure environment, what is bothering the BCCI right now is that other than Johannesburg, the teams will stay in hotels open to other guests. This was one of the mistakes made by the BCCI when it hosted the IPL at home in April-May.

Speaking to the press on Friday, India captain Virat Kohli said they expect clarity on the tour in a couple of days. “We are not playing in normal times anyway. So there is a lot of planning that is involved, a lot of preparation that is involved in terms of understanding exactly what is going to go on. We have to be realistic as well. We cannot just ignore the things that potentially could put you in a confusing place. And no one wants to be there. I am sure everyone is working hard towards finding clarity and giving us the situation as it unfolds as soon as possible. We all are hopeful that that will happen soon,” Kohli said.

As per CSA’s initial plan, once the Indian team lands in Johannesburg, they have to serve one-day hard quarantine until Covid tests are out and after that will be allowed to move only in designated areas. And the team is likely to be cleared to training only in small groups from Day 4 onwards.

“Both the boards are discussing what is good for the players. We haven’t called back the A team, which shows we trust CSA’s plan. The CSA has told a fool-proof bio-bubble will be in place. It is quite normal for players to have concerns because they have lived in demanding circumstances. We have to weigh in how much more they can spend in a hard bubble with restrictive movements. So few changes can be expected, but whether it is in itinerary or matches is too early because all possibilities is being explored,” a board official said.

If the departure is delayed, then there is no chance of a full-fledged series as India host the West Indies just 10 days after their return from South Africa.



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