New Delhi | Jagran Sports Desk: The emergence of Omicron, the newly found COVID-19 variant, has triggered countries to implement curbs on international travel and ramp up COVID testing domestically. The threat of the Omicron also started to corner the scheduled sports event as India upcoming tour with South Africa, where the Omicron was first detected, might be pushed back.

According to a report by news agency ANI quoting BCCI officials, both the Indian cricket board and South Africa cricket board are in constant touch and will make a decision on the tour keeping the safety of players in mind. India is slated to tour South Africa next month for three Tests, three ODIs and four T20Is. The tour is slated to begin on December 17.

"We are discussing to push back the series by a week due to the threat of Omicron COVID variant and we are awaiting the Indian government nod, both boards are in constant touch and everything is being discussed. The health and safety of our players is of utmost importance," the senior official, as quoted by ANI, said.

Meanwhile, India skipper Virat Kohli has said that everyone is working hard to find clarity on the South Africa tour but the team's focus remains on the second Test against New Zealand which gets underway from Friday.

"It's pretty natural, we are not playing in normal times so there is a lot of planning that is involved, there is a lot of preparation that is involved in understanding what exactly will go on," said Kohli.

"We have been talking to the board and we are pretty confident within a day or two or pretty soon we will have absolute clarity as to what is going on. We need to be realistic about things as well and should ignore the things which potentially can put you into a confusing place. Everyone is working hard towards finding clarity. We are all hopeful that will happen soon but prime focus in on second Test," he added.

Earlier, Anurag Thakur, the Union Minister for Youth Affairs and Sports had said that BCCI should consult the government before sending the cricket team to South Africa where a new COVID-19 variant has emerged.

"Not only BCCI, but every board should also consult the Indian government before sending the team to a country where a new COVID-19 variant has emerged. It is not right to send the team to a country where there is a threat, if BCCI consults us we will deliberate on that," Thakur had told ANI here in Baghpat.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) named the new COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529, which has been detected in South Africa, as 'Omicron'. This came after the WHO held a meeting to discuss the newly-identified COVID-19 variant.


(With Agency Inputs)

Posted By: Talibuddin Khan