India curtails tour of South Africa, T20Is to be played later; departure delayed by one week

Kolkata: The Indian cricket team's tour of South Africa will go ahead but the team's departure has been postponed by a week and T20 Internationals are no longer a part of the schedule, the two boards announced on Saturday, ending the speculation surrounding the series after a new COVID-19 variant triggered anxiety.

The four T20s will be played at a later date and Cricket South Africa said it will confirm the venues for the new schedule in the next 48 hours.

The Indians were originally set to leave on December 9 but the travel plans have changed, which means that the Tests are unlikely to start on December 17 as planned earlier.

India are scheduled to play three Tests and three ODIs during the tour.

CSA and BCCI Secretary Jay Shah's statements came as the Indian Board officials met for an Annual General Meeting here.

"BCCI has confirmed (to the) CSA that (the) Indian team will travel for three Tests and three ODIs. The remaining four T20Is will be played at a later date," Shah said in a statement.

Cricket South Africa appreciated BCCI's commitment to the series.

"Cricket South Africa can confirm that the India Tour will continue as originally scheduled, with a few adjustment to the logistical arrangements, such as the arrival time of the India Team," the CSA said.

"...the tour is now confirmed and the arrival timings of the India team will be moved out by a week, to allow for effective logistical planning.

"...CSA is pleased to announce that this tour will also take place under the strictest COVID-19 guidelines," it added in a statement.

South Africa's discovery of the Omicron variant has caused much trepidation as cases have soared in the country.

The Netherlands tour of the Rainbow Nation also had to be abandoned after the emergence of the new variant triggered panic all around the world with many countries imposing travel bans on the country.

CSA also had to postpone its domestic fixtures after some of the players tested positive for the virus on arrival.

However, the India A squad stayed on in South Africa raising hopes that the subsequent senior tour will go ahead.

India also did not ban flights from South Africa though it put the nation in the "at risk" category. PTI

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