The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has asked Cricket South Africa for postponing the commencement of the much-anticipated tour by a week amid the rising threat of new Covid variant, Omicron which was discovered in the African region. India is scheduled to take on South Africa in 3 Tests, as many ODIs and 4 T20Is between December 17 and January 26.
India was scheduled to leave for South Africa on December 8 or 9 following the conclusion of the 2nd Test against New Zealand. However, according to the latest reports of India Today, understands that the team is likely to depart only on December 15 or 16. The BCCI will be discussing the India tour of South Africa in its AGM on Saturday in Kolkata and then the final call is taken by the board by Sunday.
The BCCI and the Indian cricketers have no apprehensions for touring to South Africa, provided the Covid situation doesn’t blow up. BCCI wants to wait and watch how the Omicron threat will develop over the next few days. The board is constantly having a conversation with the Indian government and CSA over the fate of the South Africa tour.
Both the BCCI and Cricket South Africa (CSA) are keen on continuing with the planned tour despite rising concerns over the new Covid variant. Notably, the board hasn’t called back India A team that is currently playing 3 4-day unofficial Test matches against the hosts in Bloemfontein.
In the wake of the concerns sparked by the Omicron variant, India deferred plans to resume commercial international passenger flights from December 15 as had been decided earlier. The government has also implemented stricter Covid-19 guidelines for international travelers at airports and updated its list of “at-risk” countries.
The BCCI is also concerned about what will happen if the players will need to undergo strict quarantine on return from South Africa in January, considering a packed home schedule after the South Africa tour. However, the South Africa government said it is hopeful of hosting Indian cricketers for the series and assured safety and security for the players amid the Omicron threat.
In a statement regarding the same, the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) said, “South Africa will take all precautions necessary to ensure the health and safety of the Indian teams. A full Bio-secure environment will be established around both the South African and Indian ‘A’ Teams as well as the two National Teams.”