The Indian team are set to tour South Africa for a multi-format series in December-January. However, the emergence of the new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, has put some doubts over India’s participation in the series. The BCCI is still bullish about the tour but things can change if the situation gets worse in the coming days. India are set to depart for South Africa in the second week of December.
Meanwhile, South Africa’s foreign ministry has revealed that a fully secure bio-bubble will be in place for the Indian cricket team. The ministry also lauded BCCI for not pulling out of the A tour. Notably, India’s A team is currently playing a three-match unofficial Test series in the country. While several sporting events have been cancelled post the emergence of the virus, the BCCI stood firm and didn’t abandon the series midway. The Indian men’s team will play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is on the tour.
“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 Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), which is the country’s foreign ministry, stated.
“India’s decision to show solidarity by choosing to continue with the tour of the Indian ‘A’ Team stands in contrast with a number of countries who have decided to close their borders and to restrict travel from Southern African…,” it added.
The first Test will be played in Johannesburg from December 17, followed by matches in Centurion (December 26) and Cape Town (January 3). Meanwhile, India’s tour will mark the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s readmission in international cricket. Interestingly, India was the first team to tour South Africa after the ban was lifted in 1991. South Africa will celebrate the occasion with a special event.
“The anniversary will be celebrated by a commemorative event that will take place on January 2, 2022 in Cape Town. This event will also serve to highlight the strong ties between South Africa and India, which is once again demonstrated by the tour of the two Indian teams,” the ministry statement read.