The suspense over India’s tour of South Africa continues, with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) yet to take a call on the fate of the tour.
While several sources in the Board have indicated that they are in regular conversations with Cricket South Africa and the government, there is a high chance of the tour getting delayed. While an official statement is expected over the next couple of days, India captain Virat Kohli confirmed that the team’s head coach Rahul Dravid has initiated a conversation within the group about the series.
“We are not playing in normal times anyway, so there are lots of planning involved, lots of preparation that is involved. There are players who are not part of the group now, will be entering quarantine to join the team and fly to South Africa in a chartered flight. So, there are lot of things that you would want a clarity on as soon as possible,” Kohli said on the eve of India’s second Test against New Zealand, scheduled to begin on Friday.
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“We have spoken to the senior members of the squad and Rahul bhai has initiated a conversation within the group, which is very important to know. Our focus from the second Test will not shift regardless, but it is also important to have clarity and you want to be in a position where you know what exactly 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 clarity as to what is going on.”
The heavily-mutated Omicron variant of COVID-19 was identified last month in South Africa, and cases have doubled in the country over the last 24 hours. While several countries have imposed travel restrictions to South Africa, the Indian players are awaiting clarity.
“We need to be realistic about things as well. We cannot ignore the things that could potentially put you in a confusing state. No one wants to be there, so everyone is working hard to find clarity and giving us the situation as it unfolds, as soon as possible. That will happen soon.”
While the Board wants to have a clearer picture by Saturday, it is also evident that even the team is apprehensive – especially after what happened in England a couple of months ago, where the last Test had to be called off due to COVID-19 cases in the Indian camp.