Tha BCCI has deferred the team selection for the South Africa Tests as they await clearance from the Indian government for clearance amid growing concerns over the Omicron variant in the southern African countries, according to a report on TOI.
South Africa has been identified as an 'at-risk country' after the emergence of the new Covid-19 variant. The selectors were to get together following the Kanpur Test and the players who had been rested for the series against New Zealand were to undergo a five-day quarantine before entering the bubble for the South Africa series on December 8.
At the end of the T20I series against the Blackcaps, players such as Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Shami and KL Rahul were informed that they would be required to quarantine in Mumbai by December 3, but are now awaiting further communication from the BCCI.
South Africa's ministry of international relations has assured the safety of the Indian players when they tour the rainbow nation. "South Africa will take all precautions necessary to ensure the health and safety of the Indian teams. A full bio-secure environment will be established around both the South African and Indian 'A' teams as well as the two national teams," the statement read.
However, the BCCI remains non-committal at the moment as it awaits communication from the Indian government and does not want a repeat of what happened ahead of the Manchester Test against England earlier this year.
"Cricket South Africa and their government are doing everything to ensure the tour goes on. But BCCI is awaiting nod from the central government. Things will be clear in a couple of days. The players too need to be assured of the arrangements.
"The board doesn't want a repeat of what happened in Manchester when an outbreak within the camp got the players travelling with their families jittery," a top BCCI official said, according to TOI.
Three Tests to be reduced to two?
According to TOI, the BCCI is making an effort to reduce the three-match Test series against South Africa into two matches, which will allow the Indian team a little more time before they fly out to South Africa. A call on this is set to be taken in the next 48 hours.
"Until the players get a reply from the BCCI, confusion will prevail because nobody knows anything. But if you look at the statement that's been released by a ministerial department of the government of South Africa, it emphasises on the security process and thanks BCCI for the deep relationship the two countries have shared. That's their way of saying, 'come and we'll take care'. The ball is now in BCCI's court," sources told TOI of the developments.
The Test series is set to commence from December 17 in Johannesburg, while the other two Tests will be played in Centurion and Cape Town, according to the current schedule.
The Test series will be followed by three ODIs and four T20Is.