India vs South Africa: BCCI waits for government’s approval amid new variant’s fear

India’s tour of South Africa waits government’s approval due to the overriding fear of a new variant B.1.1529 of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the Genome Sequencing Activity reported in Botswana and South Africa. The BCCI and Cricket South Africa (CSA) are working on what’s the possibility of the series going ahead.

The series consisting of three Tests, three ODIs and three T20Is will be played between Johannesburg, Centurion, Cape Town and Paarl from December 17 to January 26 – a total of 41 days. In that, the BCCI and CSA have already ensured that the teams – once the series begins – will only take one internal flight in South Africa, from Johannesburg to Cape Town, thus reducing any or all other domestic travel. Johannesburg and Centurion are an hour’s driving distance from each other and the same is the case with Cape Town and Paarl. After playing the first two Tests at Johannesburg and Centurion, the team will fly to Cape Town to play the third Test.

Any decision to the contrary will only be considered if the situation in South Africa gets any worse over the coming weeks and in line with the central government and its health department’s policies. There is naturally a high degree of fear in South Africa because of this new variant which is believed to have a significantly high number of mutations, and thus, is seen to have serious public health implications for the country. Three cases have been reported in Botswana while six have been reported in South Africa already. Bearing these scenarios in mind, the two boards have mutually agreed at forming the strictest of bio-bubbles during the series and any breach of the same is expected to have serious repercussions. “The Indian team will get into a bio-bubble during the second Test in Mumbai starting December 3 and the bubble will travel from Mumbai to Johannesburg in a charter,” say sources privy to developments.

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