New Delhi: The new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’ currently circulating in South Africa has led to considerable concerns about India’s tour of the rainbow nation next month. However, the BCCI has said that any decision on the matter will be based on the government’s advice.
The Indian cricket team is all set to tour South Africa for three tests, three ODIs, and Four T20 Internationals from December 17 across four venues – Johannesburg, Centurion, Paarl, and Cape Town, but the new COVID variant, which belong to a lineage named B.1.1.529, has now raised concerns. The BCCI is likely to meet today to discuss the situation and take a decision on the tour of the team to South Africa.
Sports Journalist Indranil Basu also in an interview while discussing the possibilities of the game said, “The new variant for sure is going to a big threat for the tour. The Indian cricket body, BCCI is also discussing the matter. However, the cricketers are already parked in South Africa for the test matches scheduled from December 17 and BCCI is really concerned about the situation.”
He further added that there is a big question on whether the tour will happen on time or will be postponed or will be called off as of now. BBCI is currently discussing all the possibilities and is closely monitoring the situation.
The ongoing India A tour of South Africa, featuring three unofficial Tests in Bloemfontein, could also be called off midway given the uncertain situation which has prompted several visiting sportspersons to seek a way out of the country.
The first game ended in a draw due to inclement weather on Friday and the second match starts on November 29. The team is currently in a bio-bubble and the matches are being played without spectators.
PTI citing its top BCCI source said, “Let’s wait and watch, we will go by government’s advisory. It is an evolving situation as of now.”
The ministry of external affairs also when asked about the tour and the rise of the new variant, on Friday said, “This is an issue more for our health authorities and civil aviation authorities. It is a developing story.”
Meanwhile on Friday, it was reported that the Netherlands have withdrawn from their ongoing tour of South Africa while the first ODI between the two sides was being played in Centurion, the venue for the other two matches as well.
Cricket South Africa however said that a decision would be made only in the next two days as flight options for the travellers have been affected by the travel bans that have come into the effect due to the new variant.
(With inputs from PTI)