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Team India to tour South Africa for 3 T20I series in August end if coronavirus outbreak recedes

Team India to tour South Africa for 3 T20I series in August end if coronavirus outbreak recedes

New Delhi, May 21: Cricket South Africa is hoping that Indian cricket team will visit the African country in August to play three T20Is and that would be perhaps the first international assignment of Team India in the post-coronavirus era.

As per reports, Cricket South Africa (CSA) acting chief executive Jacques Faul told an online press conference on Thursday (May 21). Faul said discussions with the BCCI were ongoing.

Reports further claim that the series, which is not part of the Future Tours Programme, was negotiated by Cricket South Africa's director of cricket Graeme Smith and BCCI president Sourav Ganguly during a CSA executive trip to India in February. The series was, reportedly, finalised via teleconference on Wednesday (May 20) as both boards consider ways to get their teams back on the park.

The fixtures are currently earmarked for late August but Cricket South Africa's acting chief executive Jacques Faul, encouraged by the BCCI's "willingness", said both parties are not averse to having the series at a later date. "India wants to honour its agreement. If it's postponed, maybe a bit later," Faul said a during a virtual press conference on Thursday according to sport24.co.za.

"We've had a very good discussion with them (BCCI)," the CSA executive added. A BCCI official on condition of anonymity said that the possibility is "there" provided they get an all clearance from the government of India.

"First, we have to get the players for a conditioning camp in a green zone. Obviously, if things are on track, we would play in South Africa," the official told PTI.

BCCI agreeing to this bilateral series will also mean that they will have CSA's support if they want to organise the cash-rich IPL in October-November window instead of T20 World Cup. Considering the fast-evolving situation, CSA has reiterated that the series will be subject to the clearances from the highest authorities of both India and South Africa.

Faul said they have already initiated the process to seek permission from the South African government. "We're seeking via Sascoc an audience with the sports minister to be given approval to, if needed, play behind closed doors. This will relate specifically to the potential of an incoming Indian tour," said Faul.

"We're going to be very innovative because it's an important tour for us. As I've stated before, we're very encouraged by India's willingness."

South African team was in India in March this year for a three-match ODI series but after the first match in Dharamsala was abandoned due to incessant rain, the remaining two were suspended to the novel coronavirus outbreak across the globe.

The BCCI, as a precautionary measure, decided to host the second and third ODIs in Lucknow and Kolkata, respectively, behind closed doors but the increase in the number of cases due to the pandemic forced the board to suspend the remaining games. The South African team departed to their country without playing a single match during their visit.

(With inputs from PTI)

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Story first published: Thursday, May 21, 2020, 15:36 [IST]
Other articles published on May 21, 2020
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