BCCI awaits govt's approval for SA tour amid Omicron scare Photograph:( AFP )
Following the emergence of the new variant, South Africa has been named as an 'At-risk' country. Hence, while the situation might not have gone out of hand as yet, it is now a wait-and-watch scenario with regard to the SA tour.
The Sourav Ganguly-led Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has put the national selection committee's meeting on hold with regard to India's upcoming tour of South Africa. This was been done due to the threat posed by the new Covid variant, named the 'Omicron' in the African nation which is being closely monitored. With uncertainty looming large with respect to the travel restrictions worldwide, the BCCI has decided that it is wise to delay the announcement of the Indian squad for the upcoming tour.
According to a TOI report, BCCI is awaiting an approval from the Indian government before sending the team to the African country. Following the emergence of the new variant, South Africa has been named as an 'At-risk' country. Hence, while the situation might not have gone out of hand as yet, it is now a wait-and-watch scenario with regard to the SA tour.
As per the original schedule, Virat Kohli-led Team India are scheduled to board the flight to South Africa immediately after the conclusion of the second Test versus New Zealand in Mumbai, which is slated to end by December 7. However, the new Covid variant has put everything on hold. Thus, it remains to be seen if the BCCI will stick to the original schedule or tweak it a bit.
For the unversed, the likes of Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah -- who have been rested for the ongoing NZ Tests -- were initially asked to enter a mandatory quarantine in Mumbai from December 3. However, as per reports, they are yet to receive a clear itinerary. Hence, the confusion prevails.
TOI also reports that the series might also be rescheduled in the given scenario. "Until the players get a reply from the BCCI, confusion will prevail because nobody knows anything. But if you look at the statement that's been released by a ministerial department of the government of South Africa, it emphasizes on the security process and thanks BCCI for the deep relationship the two countries have shared. That's their way of saying, 'come and we'll take care'. The ball is now in BCCI's court," sources privy to developments told TOI.
India's last tour of SA was held in early 2018, when Kohli & Co. played three Tests, six ODIs and three T20Is in the rainbow nation. Back then, India had lost the Tests 1-2 but won the ODIs and T20Is convincingly.
For now, it remains to be seen what will be the final decision regarding their forthcoming tour of SA amid the Omicron threat.