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India to play 3 Tests, 3 ODI against South Africa, T20Is postponed. departure delayed by a week

Sourav Ganguly and Jay Shah

New Delhi, December 4: The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Secretary Jay Shah on Saturday (December 4) announced that India would tour South Africa for three-Test and three ODIs.

The four T20Is which were also originally part of the tour will now be played on a later date. But the departure of Indian cricket team from Mumbai will be delayed by a week and the first Test now stands to start from December 26.

"India's tour of South Africa, 2021-22, will proceed with the revised dates and itinerary. The team will participate in a three-match Test series followed by a three-match ODI series starting December 26," stated BCCI secretary Jay Shah.

The future of the tour was thrown into doubt after South Africa recorded high number of cases of Omicron variant of the Covid-19 in the recent fortnight.

The emergence of Omicron, which is said to spread faster than the earlier Delta variant, in multiple countries including India has triggered widespread alarm all over the world.

India are engaging travel ban and high alert situation in the wake of the new virus variant.

The variant was detected and flagged to the world by South Africa and as things stand now, there have been multiple hospitalisations in the Gauteng province, where Johannesburg, the venue of the first two Tests beginning December 17, is located.

Team India are slated to leave for Johannesburg early on December 9 but as of now, there's lack of clarity on whether the tour is on, shelved or curtailed.

Although the series is not part of the BCCI AGM's official agenda, it was brought up during the Future Tours Program discussion.

During their last tour to England in September, India, leading 2-1 going into the final Test in Old Trafford, could not field a side following a COVID outbreak inside the team bubble and the match had to be rescheduled to July 2022.

Taking that into account, the Board members would certainly deliberate long on the issue which has now emerged as the priority with less than a week left for the team's departure.

At present, the India A team is in South Africa and the Board is still continuing with that assignment.

Skipper Virat Kohli, who is due for his milestone 100th Test in Cape Town, sought further clarity on the tour on the eve of the second and final Test against New Zealand in Mumbai on Thursday. "...you want to have clarity and you want to be in a situation where you know exactly what is going on. We have to be realistic as well.

“We cannot just ignore the things that potentially could put you in a confusing place. And no one wants to be there," he had said. "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," Kohli said

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Story first published: Saturday, December 4, 2021, 11:55 [IST]
Other articles published on Dec 4, 2021