Amid Omicron Scare BCCI Puts Team Selection For South Africa Tour On Hold - Reports

Amid Omicron Scare BCCI Puts Team Selection For South Africa Tour On Hold – Reports

Cricket South Africa Image Source: TWITTER/CSAOFFICIAL
Cricket South Africa Image Source: TWITTER/CSAOFFICIAL

BCCI has put a hold on the selection meeting for the upcoming all-format tour of South Africa. It is learned that BCCI is awaiting clearance from the government before going ahead with the tour. South Africa has been identified as an ‘at-risk country’ after the emergence of the new Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus.

The selection meeting was planned for just after the first Test against New Zealand in Kanpur. The players who have been rested for the ongoing home series against New Zealand were supposed to undergo a five-day quarantine before entering the bubble for South Africa on the night of December 8. The players have not been intimated yet about the exact itinerary.

BCCI (File Photo| PTI)
BCCI (File Photo| PTI)

BCCI Puts Team Selection Meeting For South Africa Tour On Hold

Players like Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami, KL Rahul, and Shardul Thakur are waiting for clear communication from BCCI about joining the bubble. After the end of the T20I series, they were informed they would have to be in quarantine in Mumbai by December 3.

KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma---Image: Twitter
KL Rahul, Rohit Sharma—Image: Twitter

Any bio-bubble is only as effective as those inside it make it. During the England tour this year, the bio-bubble was breached for which better discipline should be maintained this time around.  In September, there was a minor outbreak in the Indian camp when the team was touring England for a 5-match Test series. As a result, the fifth Test had to be cancelled and rescheduled for the next year.

The Indian cricket team is scheduled to play three Tests, three ODIs, and three T20Is in South Africa from December 17 to January 26. For now, CSA continues to build a strict bio-bubble for the tour and has proper protocols in place. India will play three ODIs in South Africa for the first time since their 5-1 series win in 2017-18.

Historically, India didn’t have a great record in bilateral series in that part of the world. However, they did qualify for the final when the World Cup was played in 2003.

South Africa Assured The Touring Indian Team Will Be Kept In The Best Of BioSecure Bubbles

The latest development comes on the day South Africa’s ministry of international relations and cooperation issued a statement thanking BCCI for letting the India ‘A’ team stay back to complete the series in Bloemfontein. In the statement, the ministry also assured that the Indian team will be kept in the best of bio-secure bubbles.

“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,” the statement read.

India's Tour Of South Africa : India is supposed to tour South Africa in December 2021 © Getty
India’s Tour Of South Africa: India is supposed to tour South Africa in December 2021 © Getty

However, BCCI isn’t committing anything yet.

“Cricket South Africa and their government are doing everything to ensure the tour goes on. But BCCI is awaiting a nod from the central government. Things will be clear in a couple of days. The players too need to be assured of the arrangements. The board doesn’t want a repeat of what happened in Manchester when an outbreak within the camp got the players traveling with their families jittery,” a top BCCI official said.

Former India batter VVS Laxman will do the formalities to join the NCA as cricket head only after the Test series against New Zealand. VVS Laxman is currently completing his broadcast commitments.

India, A tour of South Africa, will continue, the detection of a new Covid-19 variant in the country notwithstanding. The visiting team, currently based in Bloemfontein, has had a series of meetings with the Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials and the local medical team and has decided to complete the three-match series.

The Indian A team is presently in South Africa for three unofficial Tests. With one of the Tests being completed, the team is still in the country, and the unofficial Tests will continue. The ICC Women’s World Cup Qualifier in Zimbabwe was cancelled, and South Africa’s ODI series against the Netherlands has been postponed.

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