Mumbai: India captain Virat Kohli was addressing the media on the eve of the second and final Test against New Zealand said that India coach Rahul Dravid has already initiated a conversation with the senior members of the Indian side and is also co-ordinating at the administrative level within the BCCI to seek complete clarity over India’s tour of South Africa amid fears of the rising cases of the new Covid variant Omicron in the African country.Also Read - Will Schools in Delhi Reopen as COVID Cases Decline? Sisodia Says Will Discuss Matter With DDMA Tomorrow
“We have been talking to the BCCI. We need to have more clarity, and hopefully, in the next couple of days, we will know more. Rahul (Dravid) bhai (coach) has spoken to all senior players. It is important that we are not left in a confused situation or spot,” Kohli said. Also Read - COVID Restrictions in These 10 States of India For Domestic Travellers, Read On
“At the end of the day, we understand, I mean our focus from the Test match 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.” Also Read - Covishield and Covaxin To Get Regular Market Approval From DCGI Soon, Each Dose Likely To be Capped at Rs 275
There are talks about the tour being pushed back or the schedule curtailed given the panic caused by the new variant. Kohli said that in another two days, everything will be clear.
“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,” he said.
The skipper made it clear that these are not normal times and any decision taken should factor in that aspect.
“Well, look it’s pretty natural, I mean, we are not playing in normal times anyway, so there is a lot of planning that’s involved, there is a lot of preparation that is involved in terms of understanding exactly what’s going to go on,” he said.
South Africa has been hit by travel bans following its discovery of the Omicron variant even though an India A team is currently playing a three-game first-class series in Bloemfontein.
The government in the Rainbow Nation has promised a secure bio bubble for the Indians when they land there.
“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,” there was palpable concern in Kohli’s voice.
The India seniors, during a nearly seven-week assignment starting December 17, are scheduled to play three Tests, three ODIs and four T20 Internationals across four venues Johannesburg, Centurion, Paarl, and Cape Town.
The Indian team’s bio-bubble will start in Mumbai itself and players like Rohit Sharma, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Jasprit Bumrah are all set to enter it in a day or two before the scheduled departure on December 8.
“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.”
Kohli is hopeful that while they focus on the New Zealand game, the BCCI will tell them what’s in store going forward.
“….I am sure everyone’s working hard towards finding clarity and giving us the situation as it unfolds as soon as possible…as I said our prime focus right now is the second Test and the other things are simultaneously being taken care of.”
Earlier this year, India had pulled out of a Test match against England in Manchester owing to a COVID-19 outbreak within their camp. The match was eventually rescheduled to next year.
He added, “We are not playing in normal times anyway. We have spoken to all the members of the squad.”
It is noteworthy that the India A players, who went to South Africa in November, are playing the matches with secure bio-bubble arrangements. Cricket South Africa also lauded BCCI for continuing the tour.
The uncertainty has bewildered cricket fans around the world. South Africa is the only place, where the Indian test team has never won a series. The only side that came close to achieving that was the Indian team of 2007. However, the current Indian team has a lot of potential to win their first-ever Test series in South Africa and create history.
Inputs from PTI