Tuesday, January 25, 2022

India Tour of South Africa: New Covid variant threatens India’s South Africa tour, Johannesburg & Pretoria among venues on high alert

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India Tour of South Africa: India tour to be rescheduled? – Covid-19 pandemic has once again threatened cricket. After disrupting the entire 2020 schedule and the first half of 2021, India’s tour of South Africa is under the scanner after a highly transmissible and potentially vaccine-resistant new Covid-19 variant B.1.1.529 was detected in South Africa. While the BCCI is closely monitoring the situation, postponement or change in the venue are not ruled out. Follow India vs South Africa Live Updates on InsideSport.IN.

It comes after the Netherlands tour of South Africa was curtailed after the first ODI. India, during a nearly seven-week assignment starting December 17, are scheduled to play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20 Internationals across four venues — Johannesburg, Centurion, Paarl, and Cape Town. Currently, Johannesburg and Pretoria are mulling partial to full lockdown measures due to the virus threat.

“For now, there will be no changes in schedule. The tour will go on as scheduled. We are monitoring the situation and have been in touch with the CSA. In such tough times, we can only hope that things will be under control by the time the team leaves for South Africa,” a senior BCCI official told InsideSport.

India Tour of South Africa: New Covid variant threatens India’s South Africa tour, Johannesburg, Pretoria among venues on high alert

Also Read: India tour of South Africa: Now Hardik Pandya doubtful for South Africa tour, asked to report to NCA

India's Tour Of South Africa: BCCI To Await Centre's Decision Over New COVID Variant, Say Sources | Cricket News

The cases are on the rise in the northern part of the country and at least two venues for the Test series — Johannesburg and Pretoria (near Centurion) — could become vulnerable to the spread of the new variant.

A BCCI official told PTI that even though players will be sent on a charter flight from Mumbai to Johannesburg, there is a possibility of putting them through three-four days of hard quarantine upon reaching given the changed circumstances.

“Initially, there was no provision for hard quarantine but obviously the players will remain in a bio-bubble. Now with cases rising in South Africa and the European Union also cancelling flights temporarily, we need to factor in these aspects,” a senior BCCI source told PTI.

India Tour of South Africa: New Covid variant threatens India’s South Africa tour, Johannesburg, Pretoria among venues on high alert

No change in India A series 

However, despite the virus threat, the ongoing India A tour of South Africa will go on as planned. The India A team are playing in Bloemfontein, which is in the South-Central part of South Africa.

“They are in Bloemfontein and the players are safe. We haven’t heard that the variant has been detected there. But we are obviously monitoring the situation. And if needed, players will be asked to enter a bio-secure bubble,” the BCCI official told InsideSport.

India A in South Africa for three-match series
India A in South Africa for three-match series

The official said that the board hasn’t communicated anything to the team in South Africa as they don’t want to alarm them. However, BCCI is in touch with South African board and if needed, a shift in the venue is possible.

India Tour of South Africa: New Covid variant threatens India’s South Africa tour, Johannesburg, Pretoria among venues on high alert

PTI also got in touch with a member of the administrative staff who is currently in Bloemfontein with the India A team which is in the middle of a ‘shadow tour’ of two unofficial Tests.

“We didn’t undergo any hard quarantine on arrival over here since we came by charter flight and are staying in a bio-bubble. We were told that there is nothing to worry since the spike in cases is far away from Bloemfontein where we would be playing our next match too,” the official told PTI.

India Tour of South Africa: New Covid variant threatens India’s South Africa tour, Johannesburg, Pretoria among venues on high alert

Schedule:

1st Test: Dec 17-21: Wanderers, Johannesburg
2nd Test: Dec 26-30: SuperSport Park, Centurion
3rd Test: Jan 3-7: Newlands, Cape Town
1st ODI: Jan 11: Boland Park, Paarl
2nd ODI: Jan 14: Newlands, Cape Town
3rd ODI: Jan 16: Newlands, Cape Town
1st T20I: Jan 19: Newlands, Cape Town
2nd T20I: Jan 21: Newlands, Cape Town
3rd T20I: Jan 23: Boland Park, Paarl
4th T20I: Jan 26: Boland Park, Paarl.

For more updates on cricket and other sports, follow InsideSport.IN

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