Omicron effect: clarity on India’s South Africa tour awaited

India captain Virat Kohli will return to lead the Test side in second Test against New Zealand in Mumbai from Friday. File   | Photo Credit: Getty Images

On a day India captain confirmed that the discussions over India’s tour to South Africa would be over in a day or two, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) is discussing a curtailed tour with its South Africa counterpart.

India is scheduled to play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is in South Africa from December 17 to January 26. However, the fate of the tour is in jeopardy with a new COVID-19 variant, Omicron, having been reported in multiple countries, including India, imposing travel restrictions to South Africa.

“It is pretty natural (for players to be concerned about the protocols)… There are players who are not part of the group right now who will be entering quarantine to join the team bubble to fly in a charter,” Kohli said on Thursday.

“Those kinds of things you want to seek clarity as soon as possible. So we have spoken to all the senior members of the squad. Obviously, Rahul bhai (Dravid, the coach) has initiated a conversation within the group, which is very important.

“Our focus from the Test match will not shift regardless, but also you want to have clarity and you want to be in a situation where you know exactly what is going on. We have been talking to the board, and we are pretty confident that within a day or two or pretty soon we will have absolute clarity as to what is going on.”

The Hindu understands that considering the players’ concerns and the logistical hurdles, including serving quarantine upon arrival from South Africa, the BCCI has been discussing various options with Cricket South Africa.

Curtailed tour?

The likeliest option that is being discussed is to curtail the tour to two Tests and four T20Is to enable players to recoup and be available for India’s next home assignment, the limited-overs series versus West Indies starting on Feb. 6. In such a scenario, India has offered to play an ODI series towards the end of next year, ahead of the 2023 World Cup.

A BCCI insider confirmed that latest by Saturday, a formal announcement over rejigged tour itinerary will be announced. The BCCI is yet to announce squad for the series.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2022 8:37:34 AM |

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