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Mumbai — India’s national team cricketers expect to know in the next few days whether their tour of SA will go ahead in late December after the emergence in the country of the Omicron coronavirus variant, captain Virat Kohli said on Thursday.

Sport in SA began to shut down last week due to Omicron, amid travel bans and restrictions on flights that had rugby teams and golfers scrambling to leave the country.

SA are set to host India in a three-Test series starting in Johannesburg on December 17 followed by three ODIs and four Twenty20 matches.

“We’re not playing in normal times anyways,” Kohli told reporters ahead of India’s second and final Test against New Zealand in Mumbai from Friday. “So there’s a lot of planning involved. There’s a lot of preparation involved in terms of understanding exactly what’s going on.

“There are players who are not part of the group right now who will be entering quarantine to join the team in the bubble to fly in a charter [aircraft], those kinds of things. You want to seek clarity as soon as possible.”

Indian cricket board (BCCI) chief Sourav Ganguly last week said they were monitoring the situation in SA. When asked if there were discussions to postpone the India tour, Ganguly’s Cricket SA counterpart Graeme Smith told reporters: “Nothing like this has been discussed.”

Kohli said coach Rahul Dravid has initiated discussions among the senior members of the Indian squad on the tour. “We’ve been talking to the board and we are pretty confident within a day or two or pretty soon we’ll have absolute clarity as to what is going on,” he said.

“But we need to be realistic about things as well. We cannot just ignore the things that potentially could put you in a confusing place and no-one wants to be there.

“So I’m sure everyone’s working hard towards finding clarity and giving us the situation as it unfolds as soon as possible. And we all are hopeful that will happen soon.”

Cricket SA has postponed the latest round of matches in division two of the country’s four-day provincial competition after a number of Covid-19 cases.

The provincial sides involved have not been staying in bio-secure environments ahead of the three matches that were scheduled to start on Thursday.

“In the last couple of days, some positive Covid-19 test results have emerged following team prearrival testing sessions,” Cricket SA said in a statement.

“Activating the precautionary and preventative measures stipulated in the organisation’s Covid-19 protocols to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of all involved is a top priority for Cricket SA.”

None of the teams features players expected to be selected for the Test series against India, but there is alarm as Covid-19 cases continue to rise sharply in the country.





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