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Uncertainty over India’s South Africa tour

Captain Virat Kohli says India cricketers expect to know in the next few days whether their tour of South Africa later this month will proceed after the emergence there of the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Sport in South Africa began to shut down last week due to the emergence of Omicron, with travel bans and restrictions on flights leaving rugby teams and golfers scrambling to leave the country.

South Africa are set to host India in a three-Test series starting in Johannesburg on December 17, followed by three one-day internationals (ODI) and four Twenty20 matches.

“We’re not playing in normal times anyways,” Kohli told reporters before India’s second and final Test against New Zealand in Mumbai from Friday.

“So there’s a lot of planning that’s involved. There’s a lot of preparation that’s involved in terms of understanding exactly what’s going 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 (aircraft) those kinds of things.

“You want to seek clarity as soon as possible.”

India cricket board (BCCI) chief Sourav Ganguly told Reuters last week that the governing body was monitoring the situation in South Africa.

When asked if there were discussions to postpone the India tour, Ganguly’s Cricket South Africa counterpart Graeme Smith told reporters: “Nothing like this has been discussed.”

Kohli said coach Rahul Dravid has initiated discussions among the senior members of the squad regarding the upcoming tour.

“We’ve been talking to the board and we are pretty confident within a day or two or pretty soon we’ll have absolute clarity as to what is going on,” he said.

“We need to be realistic about things as well. We cannot just ignore the things that potentially could put you in a confusing place and no one wants to be there.”

Meanwhile, Cricket South Africa postponed the latest round of matches in division two of the country’s four-day provincial competition after a number of COVID-19 cases.

None of the teams feature players expected to be selected for the Test series against India but will spark alarm as coronavirus cases continue to rise sharply in the country.

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