Due to the threat of the new Covid-19 variant – Omicron globally, there has been several doubts over India’s tour of South Africa as the new variant was first detected in the host nation and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is yet to take a final call on the fate of the tour.
Recently, several reports have claimed that the India board is in constant touch with Cricket South Africa (CSA) and the tour is likely to be delayed.
On Thursday, India captain Virat Kohli said that head coach Rahul Dravid has initiated a conversation within the group about the series as ther has been lack of clarity on the issue.
“We are not playing in normal times anyway, so there are lots of planning involved, lots of preparation that is involved. There are players who are not part of the group now, will be entering quarantine to join the team and fly to South Africa in a chartered flight. So, there are lot of things that you would want a clarity on as soon as possible,” Kohli said on the eve of India’s second Test against New Zealand, scheduled to begin on Friday at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
“We have spoken to the senior members of the squad and Rahul bhai has initiated a conversation within the group, which is very important to know. Our focus from the second Test will not shift regardless, but it is also important to have clarity and you want to be in a position where you know what exactly is going on. We have been talking to the Board and we are pretty confident that within a day or two or pretty soon, we will have clarity as to what is going on,” he added.
Kohli hoped he and his team will soon receive a clear picture of the issue.
“We need to be realistic about things as well. We cannot ignore the things that could potentially put you in a confusing state. No one wants to be there, so everyone is working hard to find clarity and giving us the situation as it unfolds, as soon as possible. That will happen soon,” the India captain expressed.
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.