The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) are at present pleased with South Africa’s assurances of their players’ safety and it looks like the box for the crucial multi-format tour by Virat Kohli’s men to take on the Proteas still has a tick in it.
CSA director of cricket Graeme Smith told The Citizen on Tuesday that the outlook is “positive” for the Indian tour, which is worth more than $100 million to the financially-constrained organisation, to go ahead, despite the panicky reaction by other countries to the Omicron variant of Covid discovered by South African scientists.
The importance of the tour to South African cricket has been recognised by government and the Ministry of International Relations and Co-Operation issued a statement on Tuesday assuring the BCCI that “a full bio-secure environment” will be established for the tourists as they “take all precautions necessary to ensure the health and safety of the Indian team”.
The BCCI have stated in India that they will be taking a chartered flight to South Africa on December 8 or 9 and CSA chief medical officer Dr Shuaib Manjra confirmed on Tuesday that they have approved the same BSE bubble measures that have been successfully used for other tours to the country.
The Indian government’s only requirement is that the BCCI checks with them before departure that there are no travel advisories in place against going to South Africa.
But it seems they are also keen for the tour to go ahead as the High Commissioner to South Africa is apparently much enamoured by the function to be held in Cape Town on January 2 to celebrate the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s readmission to international cricket, with India being the first country to host them back in 1991/92. It is meant to be a celebration of the strong ties between the two countries.
Manjra said there are “presently no doubts about the tour going ahead”.
The Press Trust of India on Tuesday quoted BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal as saying: “We are in constant touch with the CSA officials. Whatever best we can do to not compromise the series we will try and do.
“But if the situation aggravates and if it compromises our players’ safety and health, we will have to see. In the end, whatever is the Government of India advisory, we will abide by that,” Dhumal said.