BCCI treasurer Arun Dhumal on Tuesday said India's tour of South Africa remains on the schedule provided the situation doesn't aggravate in the rainbow nation after a new COVID-19 variant was detected there. India play the final Test against New Zealand in Mumbai and are scheduled to depart to Johannesburg from there on December 8 or 9 on a chartered flight.
Dhumal expressed confidence the bio-bubble environment created by South Africa will keep the players safe. The first Test will be played in Johannesburg from December 17. "We stand with them (as they deal with this threat), the only thing is we won't compromise on players' safety. As of now we have a chartered flight going to Johannesburg as scheduled and players will be in a bio bubble," Dhumal told PTI.
On the possible change of venues within South Africa to deal with the threat, Dhumal said: "We are in constant touch with the Cricket South Africa (CSA) officials. "Whatever best we can do to not compromise the series we will try and do but if situation aggravates and if it compromises our players' safety and health, we will see. In the end, whatever is the Government of India advisory, we will abide by that," Dhumal told PTI.
Countries around the world have already pressed the panic button and imposed travel bans from South Africa but India has not done that. However, South Africa is among the "at risk" countries as per the revised guidelines of the Indian government. The India A team has stayed back in South Africa to complete the series.
South Africa's foreign ministry has also assured that a "full bio-secure environment" will be created for the Indian cricket team when it lands here for the highly-anticipated series next month. On the tour, India play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20s.