CSA won’t put pressure BCCI just yet to make decision on Proteas tour to India amid Covid-19 chaos
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CAPE TOWN - Graeme Smith believes Cricket SA need to give the Board of Control of Cricket in India “time to regroup" before any decisions can be made about the Proteas’ tour to the Covid-19 ravaged country.
The Proteas are due to tour India for a T20I series in September in preparation for the T20 World Cup.
However, India are currently enduring a severe second wave of infections that has seen the subcontinent country report a record 412 262 new Covid-19 cases on Thursday and a record 3 980 daily death toll.
Furthermore, the Indian Premier League was suspended this week after players and coaching staff from different franchises tested positive despite being in a bio-secure bubble, which has seemingly placed India’s ability to safely host the T20 World Cup in jeopardy.
It has been reported that the International Cricket Council are considering utilising the United Arab Emirates as a possible alternate venue. The IPL was successfully staged in the UAE last year without any bio-bubble breaches.
“Obviously with the IPL being suspended and what's happening in related to Covid, we need to give the BCCI a day or two - or maybe even more time - to regroup and gather their thoughts. Our support is with them during these challenging times as a country, never mind what a BSC (Bio-secure) brings,” CSA Director of Cricket Smith told reporters on Thursday.
“I think the challenges they are facing as a country are immense. We don't want to apply too much pressure on them at this stage. We haven't had any correspondence that things will look differently going forward.”
South African players and coaching staff that were involved in the IPL have already returned home – or are in the process of returning. Smith paid tribute to the BCCI for the manner in which they helped the South African players with their travel arrangements.
“I think they have been exemplary in the way they have got the players out. From our players' perspective, it has been made easier that our borders aren't closed and there is still commercial travel available for them. The duty and care that they have shown in getting everyone home has been exemplary,” the former Proteas captain said.
“I think CSA has put on 15/16 BSC's this season and not much has been made about the success that we've had. Going back to the England challengers we had then, there is an unpredictable nature around Covid and sometimes you can do whatever you want, but the BSC's are never foolproof. We've said that to anyone. We’ve had a lot of success and we need to give credit to our doctors and compliance officers in the way we have run our BSC's. But when Covid is raging in your country, there is always a risk. And unfortunately once it gets inside, it is very difficult to predict what is going to happen. It is obviously a very challenging time for them. Having spoken to the players, they felt safe and they never felt at risK in India. That's the nature of what Covid brings in terms of its challenge.”