The upcoming Test and ODI series between touring India and hosts South Africa will be played in the absence of spectators, which has been taken as a precautionary step by Cricket South Africa (CSA) amid the rising Covid-19 cases in the country.
The first Test between the two sides is slated to begin from December 26 at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.
Issuing a statement, the CSA said: “Regrettably, CSA wishes to inform the most ardent fans of cricket as well as all sports lovers that owing to the increasing COVID cases around the world, and the fourth wave locally, the two cricketing bodies have taken a joint decision to protect the players and the tour by NOT making tickets available for the India vs Proteas offerings. This decision was taken in order to avoid any breaches that could compromise the tour from a Covid-risk perspective and to also maintain a hazard-free bubble environment.”
“At this stage we would like to remind all cricket fans that the tour and the matches will still be broadcast on SuperSport and SABC platforms. In addition to this and as part of ongoing efforts to increase the reach of cricket, CSA is exploring other alternative public viewing activations which will ensure that a limited number of fans are able to enjoy the summer cricket atmosphere with other fans via activation sites, while still observing the strictest safety measures and exercising duty of care. CSA will announce the available alternative public viewing activations as soon as the relevant approvals have been secured,” it added.
Meanwhile, Pholetsi Moseki, CSA Acting Chief Executive Officer said: “We acknowledge the interest expressed by the fans and other stakeholders on being able to return to stadiums and want to assure all cricket fans that this decision was not taken lightly, but was instead taken in the best interest of the game and in the interest of the health and safety of all patrons. Consequently, we urge all sport lovers to exercise absolute care, during these extraordinary times.”
“I also wish to take this time to urge all South Africans to continue spreading the positive messages of VACCINATION, VACCINATION AND VACCINATION, because this is the only way that we can truly get our country back into its high economic activity, which will assist government to open up the economy and all its forms of economic activity, including allowing greater numbers of fans back into stadiums,” he added.
Earlier in the day, Mzansi Super League, the premier professional Twenty20 cricket league held annually in South Africa, was on Monday cancelled for the second successive year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Significantly, the Omicron variant, which was reportedly first detected in South Africa, has spread to many parts of the world with several nations now suspending flights to and from the country.
Earlier, the current India’s tour of South Africa was also rescheduled and the T20Is were postponed for later in 2022.
India’s tour of South Africa (Updated Schedule):
26-30 December 21 – 1st Test – SuperSport Park, Centurion
03-07 January 22 – 2nd Test – Imperial Wanderers, Johannesburg
11-15 January 22 – 3rd Test – Six Gun Grill Newlands, Cape Town
19 January 22 – 1st ODI – Eurolux Boland Park, Paarl
21 January 22 – 2nd ODI – Eurolux Boland Park, Paarl
23 January 22 – 3rd ODI – Six Gun Grill Newlands, Cape Town