Farhaan Behardien Hopeful India's Tour To South Africa Remains Unaffected Despite New Variant Of Covid-19

Farhaan Behardien Hopeful India’s Tour To South Africa Remains Unaffected Despite New Variant Of Covid-19

Farhaan Behardien notched his maiden T20 international fifty © Getty Images
Farhaan Behardien notched his maiden T20 international fifty © Getty Images

Farhaan Behardien is hoping that the new COVID-19 variant, which is causing alarm in South Africa, will not jeopardize India’s tour of the country next month as young cricketers of his nation need the series “more than ever”. The senior team’s tour to South Africa for 3 Tests, 3 ODIs, and 4 T20Is, starting on December 17, is on at the moment, although the situation is being considered as fluid.

The discovery of a new strain of Covid-19 in South Africa has cast a shadow on India’s tour of the country. The Indian cricket team is scheduled to play three Tests, three ODIs, and three T20Is in South Africa from December 17 to January 26, but the fact that British Government announced that the country has returned to the red list because of the spread of the new variant, B.1.1.529 has put the tour in jeopardy.

South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )
South Africa ( Photo Credit: Twitter )

Farhaan Behardien, Hopeful India’s Tour To South Africa, Remains Unaffected Despite Discovery Of A New Covid-19 Strain

Amid reports of a possible pullout and growing Covid concerns, former South Africa batter and captain Farhaan Behardien is hopeful that the tour remains unaffected, in the best interest of the future of SA cricket.

Farhaan Behardien of South Africa
Farhaan Behardien of South Africa. (Photo Source: Twitter)

The new COVID variant, which the WHO named Omicron, has put India’s tour of South Africa in jeopardy, with the BCCI insisting that any decision on the fate of the series will be taken based on the government’s advice.

“I hope the biggest cricket nation in the world tours our country next month!! The future generation of South African players need it more than ever,” tweeted Behardien.

The 36-year-old Farhaan Behardien, who is a former T20 captain of the Proteas, also objected to the variant being identified as South African.

The 35-year-old Farhaan Behardien has played 59 ODIs and 38 T20Is since his international debut in 2012-13, scoring over 1,500 runs and seven half-centuries in both formats combined.

Farhaan Behardien has also taken 17 international wickets-14 ODIs and 3 T20Is. In the T20s, Farhaan Behardien averages 35 and has a strike rate of 132-plus, which is slightly better than his corresponding figures in international T20 games.

BCCI Is Unsure Of Next Step, And Will Only Decide On The Tour Once The Board Gets A Detailed Picture Of The Ground Situation

As per a BCCI official, the tour is still on, but it is unsure if it will remain so once a thorough research is conducted.

“Look, till we get a detailed picture of the ground situation from Cricket South Africa (CSA), we will not be able to tell our next step. As per the current plan, the Indian team is supposed to leave either on December 8 or 9 just after the New Zealand series gets over in Mumbai,” said a senior board official said on Friday.

India is supposed to tour South Africa in December © Getty
India is supposed to tour South Africa in December © Getty.

The new variant has already thrown sports in South Africa into turmoil. Two rounds of the United Rugby Championship were postponed, with teams from Wales, Italy, and Ireland trying to find their way out, while there were several withdrawals from a golf tournament as well. In addition, the Netherlands played a rain-marred ODI against the Proteas, but the rest of their tour remains unsure as of this moment.

Although the India A team is in South Africa to play three unofficial Tests, it remains to be seen whether the BCCI persists with its planned cricketing tour of the country. Friday was the last day of the India A team’s first match, and the play was washed out, with the game ending in a draw. The team is scheduled to play two more four-day games, which start on November 29 and December 6.

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