India’s tour of South Africa is set to be delayed at least by a week, The Indian Express understands. It is learnt that the BCCI has been negotiating with Cricket South Africa over a deferment following the detection of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus in several countries, including southern Africa.
The India A team is currently touring South Africa and although the BCCI is not yet pulling the plug on that tour, the cricket board is seriously considering delaying the senior team’s tour. The Indian team was scheduled to fly out on December 9 via a charter flight, but according to sources, that has been put on hold.
Squads selection for the South Africa tour, too, has been deferred accordingly. The selection meeting was scheduled to take place after India’s first Test against New Zealand. But as the Indian board is keeping constant touch with its South African counterpart, it has been decided to hold the selection meeting after having clarity about the road ahead.
The team is scheduled to play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is in South Africa. Back in September, the Indian team had refused to play the fifth Test against England in Manchester following a Covid outbreak in the camp.
The A team, meanwhile, is playing their second unofficial four-day Test against South Africa A in Bloemfontein. Amid rising concerns, the Indian government’s travel advisory has identified certain countries as “at-risk” countries, while a Health Ministry advisory to all the states last week had identified the new variant of the virus, B.1.1.529, to potentially have “serious public health implications”.
On Monday, Olympic javelin gold medalist Neeraj Chopra cancelled his trip to South Africa, where he was supposed to go for a training-and-competition stint.
The Covid figures issued by the health ministry of the South African government on December 1 identified 8,561 new cases, although it didn’t mention the number of infections from the Omicron variant.