After the completion of the ongoing home series against New Zealand, Team India is scheduled to tour South Africa for three Tests, as many ODIs and four-match ODI series however, the spread of a new variant of Covid-19 in the African nation has raised doubts over the upcoming tour.
Significantly, the new Covid-19 variant has caused panic globally and its presence has also been felt in South Africa in the past few days.
Meanwhile, several reports have also suggested that the fourth wave of the pandemic is likely to witness a peak in South Africa in the next few weeks which would coincide with India’s tour.
Reacting on the possibility of a spike in pandemic, Cricket South Africa (CSA) on Friday said that they are monitoring the situation in different parts of their country and will keep the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) updated about the developments.
“We are in contact with the BCCI and there is no prejudice to the Indian tour to South Africa at this stage. We will, of course, continue to monitor developments regarding the spread of the virus and keep the BCCI informed. As CSA we remain committed to ensuring that all visiting teams and Proteas players are afforded a safe environment to play cricket,” Lawson Naidoo, the head of CSA, was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz on Friday.
Meanwhile, the Indian ‘A’ men’s team is currently in South Africa and is scheduled to play two more four-day games which start on November 29 and December 6 after the first affair ended in a draw.
As per report, the touring team, which is currently in Bloemfontein, had a series of meetings with the CSA officials and the local medical team following which it decided to complete the three-match series.
“The distance between the two places is over 1000 miles and we have been told that there is no immediate health hazard. We have had discussions with the CSA officials and the medical team. The team hotel and the ground area have been sanitised and we’re in a bio-bubble,” team manager Anil Patel was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.
“At this stage, we have decided to stay on,” he added.
Significantly, the government of India has ordered rigorous screening and testing of international travellers, particularly of those arriving from or through Botswana, South Africa, and Hong Kong due to the spread of the new Covid variant.
Earlier this year, the Indian team had refused to play a Test in Manchester against hosts England due to Covid-19 related fears.
Notably, international cricket in South Africa had witnessed severe disruption previous year due to the Covid-19 pandemic as England had abandoned their tour without playing the ODI series while Australia had opted not to travel to play a three-match Test series. The two series had resulted in huge revenue loss for CSA.