CSA confident to host India amid tensions over new Covid-19 variant

South Africa cricket Team

Cricket South Africa (CSA) is positive about hosting India for the upcoming series despite the sharp upsurge of Covid-19 cases in the country and the emergence of a new variant Omicron, which has led to the postponement/cancellation of multiple sporting events already.

While it is understood that both BCCI and CSA are constantly in talks, the cancellation of the Women’s World Cup qualifiers in Zimbabwe and the postponement of the Netherlands ODIs right before the start of the India tour does not infuse promise.

Various nations have already shut their borders on South Africa, while India has called for rigorous testing of travellers from all the African nations, where the infections of the new variant have been majorly reported so far. Amidst this, however, the CSA’s acting chief executive officer Pholetsi Moseki is hopeful that the series will go as per plans.

“We’ve been engaging with them (the BCCI) and they are very keen to come,” Moseki was quoted by ESPNcricinfo. “Our government is very keen to support us and to reassure our Indian counterparts. Everything is on track.”

“India A is still in the country and there isn’t a sign of them leaving. They’re still committed and they’re expecting the tour to go ahead,” he said. “The tour is definitely still on and there’s no reason for it not to go on unless we’re blindsided by something we’re not expecting.

Moseki is also confident about the bio-secure arrangements in place to ensure the well-begin of all the players. “We had prepared for two BSEs. We learnt a lot from the England tour last year. When we planned for this tour, we always planned for Gauteng and Cape Town, because of the quantity of games,” Moseki said. “The plan is to charter a flight from Jo’burg to Cape Town. That was always the plan, even before this new variant.”

South Africa have undergone heavy financial losses over the last year following the cancelled home series against England and Australia. While England travelled back home, abandoning the three-ODI series in December 2020 after the emergence of cases inside the bio-secure environment, Australia never showed up for the three-Test series in March 2021 owing to the then-ongoing second wave of the pandemic in the country.

“We jacked up our bio-bubbles after that and the spectator matter is something that’s not in our control. Once we are sorted with the Netherlands matter, we’ll communicate further with the tour to show that there is a commitment for the tour to take place. We can play without spectators in the same way we did against Pakistan and Sri Lanka because the government knows we prepare strong bio-bubbles,” Moseki said.

“If the tour doesn’t happen, it will definitely put us in a difficult position. We will have to put some programmes on pause. We will be in a difficult position for a year or two,” he added.