DIRCO expects India Cricket tour to SA to go ahead

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) says it expects the international cricket series between India and the Proteas in South Africa to go ahead following concerns that the tour may be put in jeopardy due to the emergence of the Omicron COVID-19 variant.

The Indian ‘A’ side – or team competing in the second tier of international cricket – is already in the country and is competing in the three unofficial tests; the first of which has already been played.

A statement released by DIRCO said India’s touring party and the Proteas remain in a “bio-secure environment” to secure the health of players and staff alike.

“India’s decision to show solidarity by choosing to continue with the tour of the Indian A Team stands in contrast with a number of countries who have decided to close their borders and to restrict travel from Southern African after South Africa announced the detection of the new Omicron variant.

“The South African Government has expressed its appreciation to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for allowing the tour to continue and for not letting travel restrictions negatively impact on international sports,” the department said.

The senior Indian national team is scheduled to arrive in the country in early December in anticipation of competing in three Test matches, five One Day Internationals and four Twenty20 (T20) International matches.

The department highlighted that the Indian team’s tour marks an important moment in South African history.

“The tour…marks the 30th anniversary of South Africa’s readmission to international cricket. In 1991, India became the first country to host a South African Cricket Team after South Africa was banned from international cricket in 1970 by the International Cricket Council (ICC), following a resolution taken against the then South African government’s apartheid policy,” the department said.

According to the department, a celebration to commemorate the anniversary will be held on 2 January next year and will “highlight the strong ties between South Africa and India”.

Source: South African Government News Agency