India tour of SA: BCCI awaits government go-ahead amid fears of new Covid-19 variant
As things stand, India A will remain in South Africa with both teams committed to continue their red-ball series
Firdose Moonda and Nagraj Gollapudi
The status of India's December-January tour of South Africa remains unchanged, for now. It is understood that the Indian team will require special government permission to tour South Africa - the borders between the countries are open at the moment, and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has instructed officials to review plans to ease travel restrictions.
If the borders close between now and December 8-9, when the Indians are expected to fly out, the prospect of the tour taking place will be severely diminished. As things stand, the Netherlands team, which is in South Africa for an ODI series, has opted to postpone the last two games, and the women's ODI World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe has been called off altogether. But India A are expected to stay in South Africa and complete their red-ball series in Bloemfontein, of which two (of three) games are left.
"Both boards are in touch. They will take a final call soon. We will abide by travel directive from the Indian government in the interim"Arun Dhumal, BCCI treasurer
India A not returning home could suggest that the senior side will follow, but the situation is changing quickly with more countries issuing travel bans on the southern African region. The United Kingdom, the United States of America, most of Europe, and Australia have all stopped travel to and from the area. The South African government is petitioning them to reverse those sanctions.
While CSA is likely to be anxious about India squad arriving for the tour, the BCCI has decided to not rush into taking a call at the moment.
"We are monitoring the situation closely and players' safety is paramount for both BCCI and CSA," BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal told ESPNcricinfo. "Both boards are in touch. They will take a final call soon. We will abide by travel directive from the Indian government in the interim."
Anurag Thakur, the former BCCI president who is now the country's sports minister, told ANI, "In such situations, every board, be it BCCI or any other, should take permission from government of India. Government will take a decision when it gets the application from them (BCCI)."
India's tour of South Africa, which is set to run from December 17 to January 26, consists of three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is.