Kanpur, November 26
The new COVID-19 variant, which threatens to wreak havoc in South Africa, has raised considerable concerns over the rainbow nation’s Indian tour next month and there could be changes to quarantine rules for players in the next few days.
India, during a nearly seven-week mission starting Dec. 17, is expected to play three tests, three ODIs and four T20 internationals at four locations – Johannesburg, Centurion, Paarl and Cape Town.
Cases are on the rise in the north of the country and at least two sites in the Test series – Johannesburg and Pretoria (near Centurion) – could become vulnerable to the spread of the new variant.
âLook, until we get a detailed picture of the Cricket South Africa (CSA) ground situation, we won’t be able to say our next step. Under the current plan, the Indian squad is supposed to leave on December 8th. or 9 just after the New Zealand series ended in Mumbai, “a senior BCCI official told PTI on Friday.
For now, the tour is underway, but it is understood that BCCI, in the coming days, will speak with Cricket South Africa on the detection of the new variant – B.1.1.529 -, which has sounded the alarm bells are ringing across the world.
Scientists believe the high number of cutting edge mutations could make the new variant more resistant to vaccines, make it more transmissible and cause an increase in the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.
The BCCI official said that although players will be sent on a charter flight from Mumbai to Johannesburg, it is possible to subject them to three to four days of strict quarantine once they arrive, given the new circumstances.
âInitially there was no provision for a hard quarantine, but players will obviously remain in a bio-bubble. Now with the increase in cases in South Africa and the temporary cancellation of flights in the Union European Union, we have to take these aspects into account, “said a main source at BCCI. noted.
PTI has also made contact with a member of the administrative staff who is currently in Bloemfontein with the India A team who are in the midst of a “ghost tour” of two unofficial tests.
âWe did not undergo any hard quarantine when we arrived here as we came by charter flight and are staying in a bio-bubble. After the outbreak, a medical team from Cricket South Africa had a meeting with our representatives here.
“We were told there was nothing to worry about as the peak of cases is far away from Bloemfontein where we would also play our next game,” the official said by phone.
He also informed that the team had been informed that a peak of cases had been recorded in the north of the country.
“We were specifically told that Bloemfontein is not affected by the peak of COVID cases and that it is also happening in the north of the country,” he added.
He also informed that as on Friday, Team A did not receive any instructions from BCCI.
1st test: 17-21 December: Wanderers, Johannesburg 2nd test: 26-30 December: SuperSport Park, Centurion 3rd test: 3-7 January: Newlands, Cape Town
1st ODI: January 11: Boland Park, Paarl
2nd ODI: January 14: Newlands, Cape Town
3rd ODI: January 16: Newlands, Cape Town
1st T20I: January 19: Newlands, Cape Town
2nd T20I: January 21: Newlands, Cape Town
3rd T20I: January 23: Boland Park, Paarl
4th T20I: January 26: Boland Park, Paarl. PTI