Cricket News By TODAYLIVESCORE.INFO - BCCI, CSA come to agreement; first Test on December 26. India's first Test is set to start on December 26
India's first Test is set to start on December 26
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Cricket South Africa (CSA) have come to an agreement and India will play three Tests and three ODIs on their tour of South Africa later this month. The first Test will start on December 26.
The confirmation to this has come from both board – BCCI and CSA – who were engaged in prolonged negotiations over the fate of the tour which has run into trouble because of the outbreak of serious Omicron virus, a variant of Covid-19, in the African countries.
The two boards have decided that the four twenty20 Internationals will be played at a later date. The venues for the series have also not been finalised but there is a chance that the first Test, starting on Boxing Day, may not be held in Durban, which has traditionally been hosting the Boxing Day Test, and be held at Centurion.
A CSA official has told Cricbuzz that the South Africa board has limitations because of Bio Security Environment, they have limited options in choosing the venues. So the matches are set to be held only in the Gauteng area – consisting of Centurion, Wanderers, Newlands in Cape Town and Paarl.
These are the very venues that were originally decided when the itinerary was for three Tests, three ODI and four Twenty20 Internationals. The CSA has stuck to the same venues but the full schedule has not yet been finalised. It can be expected that the second Test could be held at the Wanderers because of the logistical and operational convenience – both Centurion and Wanderers are one hour drive away from each other — although Cape Town traditionally is known to host the New Year Test.
Earlier Jay Shah confirmed the development. Speaking to news agency ANI in Kolkata, where the BCCI holding its AGM on Saturday (December 4), the board secretary said, “BCCI has confirmed CSA that the Indian team will travel for three Tests and three ODIs. The remaining four T20Is will be played at a later date.”
CSA said that it will announce the schedule in 48 hours. “CSA is also pleased to confirm that the allocation of match venues will still be in respect of the Bubble Safe Environment (BSEs) and therefore the decision on the allocations will take into account the need for safer playing environments. CSA has instituted these world class standards and measures to ensure that all players, staff and officials are protected within this environment. CSA's main focus is to safeguard the cricket biosphere by managing strict entry standards and limited movement outside of its cordon. CSA will confirm the venues in the next 48 hours,” the South Africa board said.
After the outbreak of Omicron virus, the Indian players are understood to have expressed concerns over the situation in South Africa. India skipper Virat Kohli hinted the players' worry when he said a couple of days ago, “I mean, we are not playing in normal times anyway, so there is a lot of planning involved, there is a lot of preparation that is involved in terms of understanding exactly what's going to go 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, those kind of things, you want to seek clarity as soon as possible. Rahul bhai (Rahul Dravid) has initiated a conversation within the group… I mean our focus from the Test (current Wankhede Test) will not shift regardless, but also know that you would want to have clarity and you want to be in a situation where you know exactly what's going on and we have been talking to the board.”
One of the concerns of the Indian team, it is learned is that they want clarity on return. With the Indian government placing restrictions on those coming from Omicron-hit countries, the players are worried if they will be asked to undergo institutional quarantine on return.