The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is reportedly trying to push the start of the Test against South Africa by a week due to the threat of the new Covid-19 variant – Omicron.
As per reports, the Indian board is in talks with Cricket South Africa (CSA) for it.
Notably, after the completion of the ongoing home series against New Zealand, India is scheduled to leave for South Africa on December 8 or 9 for the tour, which comprises of three Tests, as many ODIs and four T20Is between December 17 and January 26.
However, now, according to a report in India Today, the Indian team is expected to depart only on December 15 or later and the board will discuss this topic in its AGM in Kolkata, which is scheduled to be held on Saturday.
The report said that a final call is expected to be announced by Sunday.
“The BCCI and the players are inclined towards touring 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 in constant touch with the Indian government and CSA over the fate of the South Africa tour,” said a report in India Today.
“Both the BCCI and Cricket South Africa (CSA) are keen on going ahead with the tour despite rising concerns over the new Covid variant,” it added.
Meanwhile, the selection committee meeting for India’s tour of South Africa has also been put on hold as the BCCI is now waiting for a formal approval from the Indian government to send the team to South Africa.
According to reports, there are plenty of confusion over the tour and the series is likely to be rescheduled where the two teams might play two instead of three Tests.
Earlier on Tuesday, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had said that the tour remains on schedule and they’re keeping a close watch on the situation.
“The tour is on as things stand till now. We still have time to decide. The first Test is scheduled from December 17. We will ponder about it,” Ganguly told reporters on the sidelines of a promotional event.
“Players’ security and health has always been BCCI’s first priority, we will do everything possible for this. We will see what happens in the days to come,” he added.
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation of South Africa had given full assurance to the Indian government and the BCCI regarding the safety of Indian players.
The Ministry had said that the touring side would be provided the best “bio-secure environment” to ensure the safety of players from the fast-spreading Omicron variant of Covid-19.
“The Indian National Cricket Team is also scheduled to visit South Africa and will play three games during their tour. The first will be played at the Wanderers and will start on 17 December, to be followed by the second match at Supersport Park on 26 December 2021 and the third match at Newlands on 3 January 2022. Whilst in South Africa the team will also play three One Day International games (ODIs) and four T20 matches, which will all be played at Newlands and Paarl,” it said.
The statement further promised of the best “bio-secure environment” to all the teams.
“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,” it added.