India tour of South Africa cancelled? BCCI says THIS as new COVID-19 variant fears spike
After the completion of the New Zealand series at home, Team India would be travelling to South Africa for their upcoming tour which is scheduled to begin on December 17. However, the new COVID-19 variant has cast a shadow over the team’s tour.
A new coronavirus variant called Omicron (B.1.1.529) has sparked fear among all as a high number of spike mutations might make the virus more resistant to vaccines. This could also increase transmissibility and lead to more severe symptoms.
The variant was first identified in South Africa and has now spread to nearby countries, including Botswana, where even fully vaccinated people are being infected. In South Africa itself, over 100 cases have been linked to this variant, with four more in Botswana.
India’s tour to South Africa in danger:
India is scheduled to play three Test matches, three ODIs and four T20Is as part of the bilateral series against the Proteas. However, with the new COVID-19 variant causing havoc, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has spoken about the tour and the chances of India travelling to South Africa.
Currently, an India A team is in South Africa, as they are playing three unofficial Test matches, the first of which is underway. Talking about the series, BCCI said they are in no rush to take a decision and the cricket boards of both nations are in talks.
The BCCI and Cricket South Africa (CSA) are “continuously monitoring” the situation, however, with the Netherlands ODI series getting postponed and the cancellation of the Women’s World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe, the series look highly impossible.
“We are in constant touch with Cricket South Africa, while continuously monitoring the situation over there. Health and safety of the cricketers are paramount and we will act accordingly,” BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal was quoted as saying by The Sunday Express.
“Health Ministry’s directive is supreme. If we get any advisory in this regard, we will certainly follow that,” Dhumal added.
India’s tour to South Africa schedule:
The tour will begin with the Test matches with the first taking place in Johannesburg from December 17, followed by the Boxing Day Test in Centurion and the final Test in Cape Town from January 3.
As for the ODIs, the first will be played in Paarl in January, followed by two more in Cape Town (January 14 and 16). Cape Town will also host the opening two T20Is (on January 19 and 21). and the last two matches of the tour will be played in Paarl on January 23 and 26.
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