New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: Indian cricket team's tour of South Africa will continue as per the schedule, confirmed Board of Cricket Control in India (BCCI) scretary Jay Shah on Saturday. However, Shah said that the Men in Blue will only play three Tests and as many one-day internationals (ODIs) during the tour, adding that the T20Is will be played later.

"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," Shah said while speaking to news agency ANI.

Clouds of uncertainty were looming over India's South Africa tour after a new variant of COVID-19 - Omicron - was detected there. However, BCCI sources, quoted by news agency PTI, had earlier claimed that the tour will continue as per the schedule as the board is satisfied by the bio-bubble being created by the Cricket South Africa (CSA).

"We are going to South Africa and that's confirmed," PTI quoted a senior BCCI official as saying. "The information we received is that the bio-bubble created by CSA is safe and secured. Also there hasn't been a lot of data available as of now as to how severe and detrimental it could be. Also, we have not received any communication from the government on not going ahead with the tour. The team will enter the bubble shortly and travel by a charter flight. Even if there is a delay, it will be a bubble to bubble transfer and hence no hard quarantine will be required".

Omicron has been dubbed as a variant of concern by the World Health Organisation (WHO) due to which several countries have imposed travel bans on South Africa. However, experts suggest that Omicron might not be as deadly as the Delta variant, but is five times more infectious than other strains of COVID-19.

However, experts have urged countries not to drop down their guard against COVID-19 and boost the health infrastructure and pace up the vaccination to avoid another wave of the pandemic.  

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma