STOCK MARKET BSE NSE

Team India's tour of South Africa hangs in balance as new Covid variant causes concern

The BCCI, apart from seeking a detailed deport from Cricket South Africa (CSA), will also consult the Indian players and the team management before arriving at a decision.

Published: 26th November 2021 07:56 PM  |   Last Updated: 26th November 2021 07:56 PM   |  A+A-

India's captain Virat Kohli gestures as he walks back after the toss on the first day of third Test cricket match between England and India, at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds.

India's captain Virat Kohli gestures as he walks back after the toss on the first day of third Test cricket match between England and India, at Headingley cricket ground in Leeds. (File Photo | AP)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: With the new Covid-19 variant found in South Africa triggering alarm bells across the globe, India's upcoming tour of South Africa hangs in the balance. 

While the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) officials have no plans to take a decision in haste, they are waiting for more details to emerge about the new variant, which is now turning into a cause of concern because of its mutations.

Although Team India is scheduled to leave for South Africa only early morning on December 9, the India A team is currently playing a four-day match at Bloemfontein and still has two more matches lined up. With both teams staying in a bio-secure bubble, it is understood that there is no immediate threat to that series as of now and any decision on it will be taken on the basis of advisory issued by the local health department. 

With regards to the senior men's tour, the BCCI, apart from seeking a detailed deport from Cricket South Africa (CSA), will also consult the Indian players and the team management before arriving at a decision. 

According to reports, South Africa is expecting a fourth Covid wave mid-December. The three-match Freedom Series for the Gandhi-Mandela Trophy begins with the first Test at Johannesburg on December 17, followed by the Boxing Day Test in Centurion and New Year's Test in Cape Town. The three ODIs and four T20Is are split between Cape Town and Paarl.

Though it is too early, a BCCI official said that the tour could go ahead as scheduled provided the CSA puts in place a foolproof bio-secure environment and changes the host cities. Bloemfontein, Paarl and Port Elizabeth are being spoken about as alternatives. 

ALSO READ | 'Screen passengers from South Africa, Hong Kong': Centre to states amid discovery of new Covid variant

The Indian players have already spent a considerable amount of time in the bubble recently and the need to undergo another hard quarantine might not be something they will be keen on. As things stand, the Indian government hasn't placed South Africa among the red-list countries, but like in previous instances, if the Covid numbers go up, that situation might change, and very quickly. 

"It is too early to come to any conclusion at this stage. We don't know how the situation will be in a week's time. We are waiting for CSA to come up with a plan and once that is presented, we will consult with our authorities and take a call. The players' well-being is of utmost importance and given the tight schedule, if quarantine rules are in place on arrival, it may lead to changes in plans," a BCCI official said.

Just 10 days after landing for the fourth and final T20I in Paarl, India are scheduled to play West Indies in an ODI in Ahmedabad.

For South Africa, the home series with India is vital on various fronts.

Over the past year, CSA has had to cope up with England abandoning a white-ball series mid-way through the tour after raising concerns about bio-bubble safety. Then, Cricket Australia cancelled their tour to South Africa in February-March citing the same reasons. Both the decisions led to CSA suffering huge losses. 
 



Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp