BCCI secretary Jay Shah has confirmed that the Indian team’s tour of South Africa will go ahead, but only for the three Tests and three ODIs, and the four T20Is that were also part of the original tour will be played later.
“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,” Shah told ANI.
There has been a lot of doubt around the tour to South Africa because of the new Covid-19 variant, Omicron, in the country that has led to a surge in cases and hospitalisations, especially in the Gauteng province where India are scheduled to play the first two Tests before moving south to Cape Town.
The Netherlands team had recently cut short their tour of three ODIs after playing the first game in Centurion, before they flew back home as many countries, especially from the European Union, imposed travel restrictions on southern Africa.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) had also postponed three games of round four of Division 2 four-day matches after some players tested positive. The one-day matches due to take place on December 16 have also been pushed back to 2022.
The India A team has, however, stayed back for their three four-day games in Bloemfontein. The second of those concluded on Friday and the third is set to begin on Monday.
India captain Virat Kohli had also said on the eve of the ongoing Test against New Zealand in Mumbai that it was natural for such a tour to involve a lot of planning and preparation.
“Look, it is pretty natural [for them to wonder and worry and talk about whether the tour will go ahead and what the protocols will be],” Kohli had said on Thursday. “We are not playing in normal times anyway. So there is a lot of planning that is involved, a lot of preparation that is involved in terms of understanding exactly what is going to go on. There are players who are not part of the group right now who will be entering quarantine to join the team bubble to fly in a charter.”
When exactly the BCCI and CSA agree to play the four T20Is remains to be seen as another T20 World Cup is approaching in 2022, and both teams already have packed schedules for the coming year.