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India's South African tour to be played behind closed doors

Cricket South Africa announced Monday that team India's tour to the rainbow country would be played without spectators due to the current situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic in the nation.

Team India recently arrived in South Africa while the pandemic is currently worsening all around the world with the emergence of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. Additionally, the African nation is currently facing its fourth wave of COVID-19 mass infections.

The Virat Kohli and Rahul Dravid-led Indian cricket team landed in Johannesburg on Thursday evening for the team's upcoming 3-match series in Centurion, starting December 26 in a bid to win their first Test series in South Africa.

The visitors will face South Africa during the three Tests which will be held in Centurion, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. Team India is missing miss their newly-appointed vice-captain Rohit Sharma who have to stay home due to a hamstring injury. India is also without two premier left-arm spinners Ravindra Jadeja and Axar Patel who also have to stay home due to injuries.

CSA has to make tough decision

"This decision was taken in order to avoid any breaches that could compromise the tour from a Covid-risk perspective and to also maintain a hazard-free bubble environment," said CSA in an official release.

"At this stage, we would like to remind all cricket fans that the tour and the matches will still be broadcast on SuperSport and SABC platforms."

CSA said the decision was jointly taken with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). It added that it was taken to protect payers, staff members, and fans as well as maintain a hazard-free bubble environment. BCCI'S have world's most lucrative and richest cricket league, Indian Primer League abbreviated as IPL.

“We acknowledge the interest expressed by the fans and other stakeholders on being able to return to stadiums and want to assure all cricket fans that this decision was not taken lightly, but was instead taken in the best interest of the game and in the interest of the health and safety of all patrons," said CSA Acting Chief Executive Officer Pholetsi Moseki.

"Consequently, we urge all sports lovers to exercise absolute care, during these extraordinary times. I also wish to take this time to urge all South Africans to continue spreading the positive messages of VACCINATION, VACCINATION AND VACCINATION, because this is the only way that we can truly get our country back into its high economic activity, which will assist [the] government to open up the economy and all its forms of economic activity, including allowing greater numbers of fans back into stadiums.”

Mzansi Super League also cancelled

The CSA also announced that it had cancelled the T20 Mzansi Super League for the second time due to the very same reason. The event was scheduled to be held in February after the 2020 edition was cancelled, also due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The decision to cancel the 2021 edition of the MSL is meant to allow CSA and its strategic partners to revamp and review the tournament post-Covid-19 to regain its market and commercial position," said Moseki.

The South African cricket governing body had also postponed the remaining round of the CSA four-day franchise series, South Africa's premier domestic competition, due to the same reason.


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