Cricket South Africa have gone the extra mile to ensure the safety of India players and support staff during the much-anticipated Test and ODI series, starting December 26. With plenty riding on the home series, CSA have come up with meticulous plans to ensure the series doesn’t get called-off midway amid fears over the new Covid variant, Omicron that was discovered in the region.
India travelled to Johannesburg from Mumbai in a chartered plane and have been staying at the African Pride Irene Country Lodge. Not only have South Africa given up on their preferred accommodation, CSA have said that the visiting team members will have no contact with the public whenever they travel from their hotel to the grounds for training, according to News24. They will also take a chartered plane to Cape Town for the 3rd Test, which will be held from January 11.
Cricket South Africa also barred spectators from attending the 3-Test and the 3-match ODI series as the board did not sell tickets due to the Omicron scare.
As it turns out, CSA has worked with the South African government to ensure Team India focuses on cricket without having to feel anxious about the developing Covid situation.
India have been assured of no-obligation exit from South Africa in case there are border closures due to a rise in cases in the country. Notably, South Africa’s home ODI series against the Netherlands was suspended last month while the CSA has also suspended domestic fixtures due to a rise in the Covid cases.
Meanwhile, CSA has also assured hospital beds for Indian players and support staff in case they need them during the series, the news report added.
HOSPITALS GUARANTEE BEDS FOR INDIA PLAYERS
CSA’s chief medical officer, Dr. Shuaib Manjra, who had earlier offered booster vaccine shots for India players, elaborated on the arrangements made by the CSA for the India series.
“In case an Indian player needs to be hospitalised for whatever reason, we’ve approached some of the hospital groups who’ve guaranteed us beds in hospitals,” Manjra said, as quoted by the report.
“If there needs to be repatriation and the borders are closed, the government has given a guarantee that they will allow the players and the team to go back to India.”
Meanwhile, Manjra also confirmed that CSA has got green light from the South African government for the no-obligation return but that he is not sure how the Indian government will respond to such a situation.
“One thing we can’t control is how the Indian government deals with it. We’ve got DIRCO [Department of International Relations and Cooperation] talking to the Indian government but, as CSA, we don’t have control over that in terms of what the rules and regulations are when the players go back.
“I think we’ve taken whatever measures we can to ensure that the Indian team is not only safe here, but should they need to leave for whatever reason, that the path is open for them to leave at any point that they wish.”
India were in quarantine for a day after their arrival in Johannesburg. They began training at their hotel before beginning practice sessions in Centurion.
India and South Africa will meet in the first Test, starting December 26 at the SuperSport Park in Centurion.