India's tour of South Africa will go on as per schedule, but only for Tests and ODIs, while the four T20I matches will be played later, Jay Shah confirmed.
India's tour of South Africa, starting December 17, was under the scanner in wake of the new Omicron variant of Covid-19, which was first identified in the country. It led to plenty of speculations surrounding the fate of the tour, but a word from the BCCI secretary confirms that there will be no change in the first-half of the tour.
"BCCI has confirmed CSA that the Indian team will travel for three Tests and three ODIs. The remaining four T20Is will be played at a later date," Shah told ANI.
The fact that India A tour of South Africa remained unaffected even after the new variant was detected, was always a positive development, but the tour still remained clouded with uncertainty. Certain media reports suggested that while the tour was expected to remain untouched, others claimed there might be a delay by a week or nine days. In the end, there was a bit of both.
The tour kicks of with a three-Test series, with the first match starting on December 17 in Johannesburg. Following it would be the Boxing Day Test at Centurion, with the final game to be played in Cape Town from January 3. After a seven-day break, the three ODIs take place in Paarl and Cape Town. The T20Is, which were to start from January 19, will now witness a revised schedule being chalked out.
On the eve of the second Test between India and South Africa, captain Virat Kohli had informed that conversations were on and a decision on it would be out soon. The skipper also said that in the present scenarios, it was expected that tours would involve a lot of planning and preparations.
"Look, it is pretty natural [for them to wonder and worry and talk about whether the tour will go ahead and what the protocols will be]," Kohli had said on Thursday. "We are not playing in normal times anyway. So there is a lot of planning that is involved, a lot of preparation that is involved in terms of understanding exactly what is going to go on. There are players who are not part of the group right now who will be entering quarantine to join the team bubble to fly in a charter."
Sports in South Africa have been affected following the outbreak of the Omicron variant. The Netherlands, who were to play three ODIs against the Proteas, had cut short their tour before eventually flowing back home. Cricket South Africa had also postponed Round 4 of Division 2 four-day matches.