Tag Archives: Omicron

Covid-19 forces CA to revise schedule for upcoming Sri Lanka T20I series

In a bid to minimise movement during the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak, Cricket Australia (CA) on Thursday announced the revised schedule and venues for the upcoming five-match T20I series between Australia and Sri Lanka.

The five-match affair, which will be held bweteen February 11 and 20, will now be played across three venues – the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Manuka Oval, and Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). Notably, the second, third, and fourth T20Is have been relocated from Queensland and Adelaide to minimize biosecurity risks by reducing travel across the country.

Confirmring the development, CA CEO Nick Hockley issued a statement and said: “CA will continue to prioritize the health and safety of all players, match officials, staff, fans, broadcasters and the wider community as we navigate the challenges presented by Covid-19.”

“We know that fans in South Australia and Queensland will be disappointed to miss out on these matches and we remain committed to bringing international cricket to all states and territories across the country as safe as possible. We thank Sri Lanka Cricket for working closely with us to make the series possible and look forward to five entertaining matches,” he added.

Significantly, the sudden change in the schedule comes in the wake of the postponement of New Zealand’s white-ball tour of Australia.

Earlier on January 19 (Wednesday), the upcoming New Zealand‘s tour of Australia, which included three ODIs and a T20I, was postponed indefinitely due to quarantine issues. Australia and New Zealand were scheduled to play the three ODIs on January 30 and February 2 and 5 while the T20I was scheduled for February 8.

Notably, New Zealand’s quarantine issues and border controls matters were the key reasons behind the postponement of the white-ball fixtures.

Due to prevalent Omicron wave of Covid-19 infections, the New Zealand government had announced to impose a hard 10-day mandatory quarantine for everyone. The announcement meant that New Zealand Cricket (NZC) could not secure guarantees whether its players would be allowed back into the country.

After the development, reports suggested that CA and the NZC officials have discussed the possibility of rescheduling these matches in Australia.

Commenting on the issue, NZC chief executive David White had said: “As we now know, the advent of Omicron prompted a change of heart from the NZ Government, resulting in a hard 10-day mandatory isolation period being imposed on all incoming travellers. NZC and CA had explored a proposal to expand the tour and to push out the date on which the squad might return to New Zealand in the hope that might be more achievable for the Government.”

“Unfortunately, we received advice this morning that they could not provide certainty over this,” he had concluded.

On the other hand, Hockley had said: “We are extremely disappointed that we won’t be able to play the scheduled matches against New Zealand as planned, however we will continue to work with New Zealand Cricket to reschedule the series.”

“We thank NZC, who made every effort to make the series happen, however because they were unable to get certainty over return quarantine arrangements, it is simply just not possible at this time. We know fans will be disappointed and thank them for their understanding given the unique circumstances that the global pandemic presents for everyone. We look forward to welcoming Sri Lanka to Australia next month and will confirm the schedule for that series as soon as possible,” he had added.

Significantly, it was the third successive year when the white-ball fixtures between the two sides were postponed due to Covid concerns.

After the postponement of the fixtures, there are currently no One-Day Internationals schedule for the Australian team this summer.

Notably, the upcoming series was to make the final visit from retiring New Zealand great Ross Taylor, who had signed off from Test cricket earlier this month.

Revised T20I schedule:

February 11: Australia v Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground

February 13: Australia v Sri Lanka, Sydney Cricket Ground

February 15: Australia v Sri Lanka, Manuka Oval

February 18: Australia v Sri Lanka, Melbourne Cricket Ground

February 20: Australia v Sri Lanka, Melbourne Cricket Ground

Friendly encounter between Yorkshire, Lahore Qalandar postponed due to Covid-19

A friendly cricket match between the Yorkshire County Cricket Club (YCCC) and Lahore Qalandar which was scheduled for January 16 at the Ghaddafi Stadium in Lahore, has been postponed due to the ongoing Covid-19 challenges globally, it has been announced.

“For the safety and wellness of all players, it has been decided that it is appropriate to reschedule the match to a later date, which will be confirmed in due course,” the statement issued by the club said.

The statement further said that the first step on its search for undiscovered cricketing talent following the recently signed partnership between the two clubs will be held in the upcoming summer.

“In summer 2022, aspiring players over 18-years-old will be invited to demonstrate their cricketing potential during trials across the four regions of North, East, South and West Yorkshire in front of a selection panel led by the interim YCCC Managing Director Darren Gough, alongside representatives from the Qalandars coaching team.”

The club however, said that the schedule for the trials are currently being finalised and will be announced soon.

As per the details, the most talented players will be divided into four teams to play in a final and the best two females and best two male cricketers will be chosen for scholarships with Yorkshire County Cricket Club, including the opportunity to travel to Lahore and train at the Qalandars’ elite high-performance centre, as well as a full kit bag provided for all the winners to keep.

Earlier in December 2021, the YCCC and the Qalandars had signed a partnership which will witness a player exchange programme with an aim to enable international players to learn from each other.

After the signing, the county club had said that it wants to “learn from and emulate Lahore Qalandars’ Players Development Program (PDP)” which looks to scout and upskill players from across Pakistan.

The deal was also aimed for scholarships for young, aspiring players from Yorkshire who will be travelling, training, and playing in Lahore, including access to the Qalandars’ first-class facilities, as well as opportunities for young people from Pakistan to come to Yorkshire.

Commenting on the partnership, Professor The Lord Patel of Bradford OBE, Chair of Yorkshire County Cricket Club, had said: “The work the Lahore Qalandars do both on and off the pitch is remarkable and can serve as a benchmark for clubs around the world – ours included – for how best to spot, foster and support talent at all levels in the game of cricket.”

“The Players Development Program is an incredible achievement – breaking the mould for how teams can be created within our sport, and demonstrating that through offering access and support, great cricketing talent can be found from all backgrounds,” he added.

On the other hand, Sameen Rana, Chief Operating Officer, Lahore Qalandars had expressed: “We are incredibly proud of our Players Development Program and our wider team in Lahore. The Program has had an immensely positive impact on both our club and those involved. We are looking forward to working with Darren, Lord Patel and the team as they look to create an inclusive and welcoming culture for all at Yorkshire County Cricket Club.”

Notably, the Qalandars have a similar partnership with Big Bash League (BBL) franchise Melbourne Stars.

Spike in Covid cases could force BCCI to take IPL 2022 overseas

After partially hosting the previous season of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) in the UAE, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) might once again be forced to stage the upcoming 15th season of the lucrative league away from India in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.

Notably, the full 2020 season and half of the 2021 IPL season were staged in the UAE due to the global pandemic.

Once again, India is witnessing a massive spike in Covid-19 cases and if things don’t improve in the coming months, the Indian board would shift the cash-rich league to South Africa or Sri Lanka.

According to a report in Indian Express, the BCCI is extremely pleased with the current arrangements made by Cricket South Africa (CSA) on the ongoing India tour and as a result, it is looking at the rainbow nation as a viable option. Significantly, South Africa had also hosted the 2009 edition of IPL due to the general elections in India.

Meanwhile, the report also suggested that the island nation of Sri Lanka is also part of Plan B for the Indian board.

Notably, the 15 season is all set to be the longest-ever with the addition of the two new teams – Lucknow and Ahmedabad recently.

Although the BCCI had staged the previous two seasons in the Middle East, it is now looking for a new venue as it doesn’t want to be over-dependent on the UAE every time and also the time difference would suit the players in the rainbow nation.

“We can’t be dependent on UAE all the time so we decided to explore more options, South Africa’s time difference also works out well for the players,” said a BCCI official as quoted by Indian Express.

According to the report, the arrangements in South Africa for the ongoing three-Test series has pleased the BCCI.

“The place where the team was staying for the second Test is spread over several acres. There were walking tracks and even a pond on the property and that has made things easier for the players who for the last couple of years or so have been confined to their rooms on several overseas tours,” an official said.

Few days back, an another report in the Time of India (ToI) had suggested that the BCCI is mullling to organise the entire league in Maharashtra, across four venues – Brabourne Stadium and Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, DY Patil Stadium in Navi Mumbai and Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium (MCA) in Gahunje in Pune however, the rising Covid cases led to the postponement of the Ranji Trophy, women’s T20 league and has now forced the Indian board to redraw the IPL 2022 schedule even as it had wanted the upcoming season to be held in India.

Recently, BCCI Vice President Rajeev Shukla has said that the BCCI will make every effort to ensure that the next edition of IPL takes place in India.

Before Shukla, BCCI secretary Jay Shah in November 2021 had also said that the next IPL season will take place in India. While attending an event, “The Champions Call” in Chennai, which was organised to celebrate Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) fourth IPL victory, Shah has assured that the cash-rich league will return to India and it will be even more exciting as two new teams – Ahmedabad and Lucknow will be joining the lucrative league.

“I know you all are waiting to see the CSK play at Chepauk. Well, the moment is not very far. The 15th season of the IPL will take place in India and it will be more exciting than ever with two new teams joining,” the BCCI secretary said.

Rohit replaces Kohli as India ODI skipper

Rohit Sharma was on Wednesday appointed as the captain of Team India for the upcoming ODI series against South Africa.

Meanwhile, Rohit was also promoted to the role of the vice captain for India’s Test team.

The development came as the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) on Wednesday announced a 18-member squad, to be led by Virat Kohli, for the upcoming Test series in South Africa.

On the other hand, ace all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja misses a place in the Test squad along with Shubman Gill, Axar Patel and Rahul Chahar as all of them are injured and are currently undergoing rehabilitation.

Issuing a statement, the board announced: “The following players were not available for selection due to injuries and are currently undergoing rehabilitation: Ravindra Jadeja, Shubman Gill, Axar Patel, Rahul Chahar.”

“The All-India Senior Selection Committee also decided to name Mr Rohit Sharma as the Captain of the ODI & T20I teams going forward,” it added.

Notably, India will play three-Test series in Centurion, Johannesburg and Cape Town on their tour of South Africa which will begin on December 26 after being delayed for a week due to the sudden threat of new Covid-19 variant – Omnicron – in the host country.

Earlier on Monday, Cricket South Africa (CSA), the governing body for the sport of cricket in South Africa, had announced the updated schedule of the Indian men’s cricket team’s upcoming tour of South Africa.

Notably, the spread of a new variant of Covid-19 in the African nation had raised doubts over the upcoming tour however, 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.

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.

India’s Test squad:

Virat Kohli (Captain), Rohit Sharma (vice-captain), KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer, Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant (wk), Wriddhiman Saha (wk), R Ashwin, Jayant Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Mohd. Shami, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Shardul Thakur, Md. Siraj.

Standby Players: Navdeep Saini, Saurabh Kumar, Deepak Chahar, Arzan Nagwaswalla.

India tour of South Africa 2021-22 schedule:

1st Test (December 26-30): Centurion

2nd Test (January 03-07): Johannesburg

3rd Test (January 11-15): Cape Town

1st ODI (January 19): Paarl

2nd ODI (January 21): Paarl

3rd ODI (January 23): Cape Town

India’s tour of South Africa rescheduled, T20Is postponed

The upcoming India’s tour of South Africa has been rescheduled after the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) came to an agreement.

As per the agreement, first Test will start on December 26 instead of December and 17 and the Indian team’s departure, which was scheduled for December 8, has been now delayed by a week.

India will play three Tests and three ODIs on their tour of South Africa as scheduled earlier however the T20I series has now been postponed to a later date.

Although the venues for the series have also not been finalised yet however, reports suggest that that the first Test, starting on Boxing Day, might be shifted out of Durban, which has traditionally hosted the Boxing Day Test, to Centurion.

Earlier Jay Shah confirmed the development. Speaking to news agency ANI in Kolkata, where the is BCCI holding its AGM, he said, “BCCI has confirmed CSA that the Indian team will travel for three Tests and three ODIs. The remaining four T20Is will be played at a later date.”

Notably, the spread of a new variant of Covid-19 in the African nation has raised doubts over the upcoming tour however, 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

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.

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 had said.

Later, BCCI Chief Sourav Ganguly has said that the tour remains on schedule and they were 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 had added.

Confident there will be clarity soon on India’s tour of South Africa: Kohli

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.

India’s tour of South Africa likley to be delayed by a week

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.

BCCI awaits govt clearance for SA tour, series likely to be rescheduled: Report

The selection committee meeting for India’s tour of South Africa has been put on hold due to the new variant of COVID-19 creating panic globally, especially in the southern African nations.

Notably, there has been concern on the spread of the new Covid-19 variant – Omicron – which was first reported in South Africa and has spread to many parts of the world with several nations now suspending flights to and from the country.

After the completion of the ongoing home series against New Zealand, India is scheduled to play a three-Test series, as many ODIs and four T20Is during the tour, which will conclude on January 26 however, the new Covid threat has put the tour under doubt.

As per a report in Times of India (TOI), the Board of Control for Cricket in India (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.

Players like Rohit Sharma, Shardul Thakur, Rishabh Pant, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami, who were rested for the New Zealand series, were asked to enter a mandatory quarantine in Mumbai from December 3 however, according to the report, they are yet to be given a clear itinerary.

“Until the players get a reply from the BCCI, confusion will prevail because nobody knows anything. But if you look at the statement that’s been released by a ministerial department of the government of South Africa, it emphasizes on the security process and thanks BCCI for the deep relationship the two countries have shared. That’s their way of saying, ‘come and we’ll take care’. The ball is now in BCCI’s court,” sources privy to developments told Times of India (TOI).

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.

The tour is on, we still have time to decide: Ganguly on India’s tour of South Africa

With the doubts looming around India’s upcoming tour of South Africa due to the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant, Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) president Sourav Ganguly has said that the tour remains on schedule and they’re keeping a close watch on the situation.

Notably, there has been concern on the spread of the new Covid-19 variant – Omicron – which was first reported in South Africa and has spread to many parts of the world with several nations now suspending flights to and from the country.

“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.

After the completion of the ongoing home series against New Zealand in Mumbai, Team India is scheduled to fly to Johannesburg on December 8 or 9 on a chartered flight.

Earlier 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.

India is scheduled to play a three-Test series, as many ODIs and four T20Is during the tour, which will conclude on January 26.

Moreover, the ministry thanked the BCCI for continuing the India A tour.

“India’s decision to show solidarity by choosing to continue with the tour of the Indian ‘A’ Team stands in contrast with a number of countries who have decided to close their borders and to restrict travel from Southern African after South Africa announced the detection of the new Omicron variant,” it said.

“The South African Government has expressed its appreciation to the BCCI for allowing the tour to continue and for not letting travel restrictions negatively impact on international sports,” it added.

Earlier, while reacting on the possibility of a spike in pandemic, Cricket South Africa (CSA) had said that they are monitoring the situation in different parts of their country and will keep the BCCI updated about the developments.

South Africa govt assures best bio-secure environment for Team India in upcoming tour

The spread of a new variant of Covid-19 in the African nation has raised doubts over India’s upcoming tour to South Africa however, the Ministry of International relations and Cooperation of the host nation has given full assurance to the Indian government and the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) regarding the safety of Indian players.

The Ministry has 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

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.

Meanwhile, the India ‘A’ team is currently in Bloemfontein and playing the second unofficial Test against South Africa.

Issuing a statement, the ministry said: “The South African Government wishes to welcome the Indian ‘A’ Cricket Team that is currently in South Africa to play three unofficial test matches against the South African ‘A’ Team. The Indian ‘A’ Team is based in Bloemfontein and will start the second match of the tour today, 29 November 2021. The last match will commence on 6 December 2021.”

“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 added.

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 said.

Significantly, the India senior team is scheduled to tour South Africa following the completion of the ongoing home series against New Zealand.

India is scheduled to play a three-Test series, as many ODIs and four T20Is during the tour, which will conclude on January 26.

Moreover, the ministry thanked the BCCI for continuing the India A tour.

“India’s decision to show solidarity by choosing to continue with the tour of the Indian ‘A’ Team stands in contrast with a number of countries who have decided to close their borders and to restrict travel from Southern African after South Africa announced the detection of the new Omicron variant,” it said.

“The South African Government has expressed its appreciation to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for allowing the tour to continue and for not letting travel restrictions negatively impact on international sports,” it added.

Earlier, while reacting on the possibility of a spike in pandemic, Cricket South Africa (CSA) had said that they are monitoring the situation in different parts of their country and will keep the BCCI updated about the developments.